Tears and memories shared at memorial for Carrollton bus crash

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It's been 25 years since a youth group trip from Radcliff to Kings Island, just north of Cincinnati, went terribly wrong. The school bus with 67 youth and adults was hit by a drunk driver, sparking a fire that engulfed the bus.

"It was that forever changed the history of our community," said Radcliff Mayor, JJ Duvall from the podium at Tuesday's 25 year anniversary of the deadliest drunk driving crash in the nation.

At the North Hardin High School Gym, where some of the students attended school, the names of survivors and the names of those lost line two rows of bleachers. No one needs to ask who they are because everyone knows this story.

"Tragedy had struck our small town," stated Duvall, "but we pushed through the pain."

"I remember May the 14th, 1988. I remember the young people that I talked to on a Wednesday evening. They were so excited about going on the trip," recalled Martha Tennison, a former pastor at Radcliff Assembly of God. "I remember receiving the telephone call. No matter how painful the past is, we can never forget."

While this date marks an emotional day for many, some are finding healing by sharing the story even two-and-a-half decades later.

"You know you don't have to say anything empowering, you don't have to say anything profound, you just have to talk and just share," expressed Harold Dennis, who was one of 40 that survived the crash.

While the memories are still real, he says the story must live for the 27 who did not.

"We have to continue to be proactive we have to continue to be their voice, not just remember but be their voice."

"Everyday for 25 years we have called every one of your names in prayer," said Tennison fighting back tears, "I make you a promise today, until we draw our last breath we will call your names in prayer every day."

Tonight survivors of the crash and the families of the those who died watched "impact: After the Crash," a documentary about the Carrollton Bus Crash. It will debut to the public tomorrow in Elizabethtown.


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