Victims remembered on 25th anniversary of Carrollton bus crash

HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It was the deadliest drunk driving crash in U.S. History. 25 years later, people across Kentucky are remembering the 27 lives lost in the Carrollton bus crash.

On May 14, 1988, a drunk driver slammed into the bus on U.S. 71. The crash caused the bus to burst into flames. The victims were returning to Hardin County from a church youth group field trip.

On Tuesday, a memorial service was held to remember the victims. Karolyn Nunnallee was among those remembering the victims. The quarter century since the deadly crash hasn't dulled the pain of losing her 10-year-old daughter, Patty. She says many of the parents she's spoken to have had difficulty letting go.

"If they haven't started to grieve, and many of them haven't, many of these young kids that were on that bus, they've never dealt with this situation, and they're going to deal with it today," Nunnallee says.

Nunnallee became an advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The man who hit the church bus her daughter was riding in, Larry Mahoney, was drunk. Survivors of the crash have taken up the same cause, including Quinton Higgins, who is now a bus driver for Hardin county.

"I'm glad I'm here 25 years later, but most importantly I want to teach people the dangers of drinking and driving," says Higgins.

The people left behind say the anniversary is also about remembering those they lost and using that loss to do good.

Following the memorial, some of the people attended a private screen of a documentary titled "Impact." It features a re-enactment of the crash.

Mahoney was convicted in the case. He served nearly 11 years in prison and was released in 1999.

Since getting out of prison, Mahoney has declined all media request to talk about the crash.

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