Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of the deadliest drunk driving accident in U.S. history. Tonight many are remembering the 27 people who died in the Carrollton bus crash. WYMT's Angela Sparkman spoke with one Pike County man who survived the fiery crash.
Jason Booher says it changed his life forever and he was only 13 when it happened. He lived in Radcliff and a friend invited him on the church trip. He says the day went from the best day to the worst day.
These days, Jason Booher works and coaches at Shelby Valley High School, but 20 years ago, he was 13, and on a church trip to Kings Island, a day he'll never forget.
"It was a great day and one of the funnest days of my life up to that point. Then the bus crash happened, and it turned into one of the worst days of my life," Booher said.
He remembers everything clearly. He was sitting with his childhood best friend in the fifth row from the back.
"It went from joke telling to everyone having fun and goofing off, to this impact and all the kids being thrown. When I saw that explosion, I knew something bad was happening," he said.
He says everyone started running to the back door. He says coolers were in the aisle tripping kids and people were piled at the exit.
"I saw a little opening at the top, so I just dove out of that and hit the asphalt below. Then I turned around and there was so much smoke and black soot coming out the windows," he said.
He says he started pulling others out the door.
"I thought we had them all off," Booher said.
He later learned they didn't. His best friend, Chad Whitt, who sat next to him on the bus, died, and so did 26 other friends.
"I was lucky to get out unscathed. The emotional scars are really bad, just a tragic thing at 13 to go through," Booher said.
20 years later, he sees some positives from the crash. He's glad there are better bus safety features and stiffer drunk driving laws, and believes the accident led him to his wife, someone he met during the crash introduced them.
"There are some bright spots to come out of this," Booher said.
And he tries to make sure no one forgets what happened.
Booher also shares his experience with the students he works with. He uses the story to tell them not to drink and drive.