1958 school bus crash documentary returns to the MAC

The Very Worst Thing, the documentary film about the worst school bus crash in U.S. history, will be screened at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 7:30pm.

The screening will feature an updated, special edition of the film, featuring recent interviews with Darwin Derossett and David Wright, both of whom were passengers on the ill-fated school bus on the morning of the accident but were able to swim to safety. Also included in the film will be several never-before-seen photographs, bonus footage, and extended interviews with people in the film.

Tickets are $9 and can be purchased at the Mountain Arts Center box office, online at www.macarts.com, or by calling the box office at (606) 889-9125.


On the morning of February 28, 1958, a school bus carrying 48 elementary and high school students on U.S. Highway 23 in Floyd County, Kentucky plunged into the swollen waters of the Big Sandy River. Twenty-six children and their driver perished that morning, making it the worst school bus accident in U.S. history. The tragedy not only shook the small, eastern Kentucky community but also the entire nation. The cause of the wreck remains a mystery even to this day.


Remix Films revisits the tragedy with their documentary film The Very Worst Thing, which was shot throughout 2009 throughout Kentucky. Several individuals who were personally affected by the tragedy are interviewed, including:

* Martha Burchett (Marsh), Winston Dillon, Darwin Derossett, and David Wright, all of whom were among the 22 students who were aboard the bus at the time of the accident but escaped.

* John Crum, a student who was supposed to board the bus that morning but at the last minute decided to stay home. He watched as the bus plummeted down the embankment and into the river.

* Azie Meade, whose 8-year old brother Jimmy Meade perished in the accident.

* James Chapman (US Army Corps of Engineers, Ret.), who first spotted the bus after it had been missing for 2 days in the river.

The Very Worst Thing also includes several original photographs taken during the recovery effort, many of which have been unseen by the general public. Also included is a rare radio broadcast from the rescue scene from Ernest Sparkman of WSGS Radio, recorded just hours after the accident.

The Very Worst Thing also features an original instrumental score by musician John Hoerr, as well as the 1958 Stanley Brothers song “No School Bus in Heaven”, which was recorded to help the families and community grieve after the tragedy. Also featured in the film is the original song “The Strength to Go On”, written and recorded by filmmaker Michael Crisp specifically for this documentary.

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