"The Very Worst Thing" Shown in Hazard

By: MacKenzie Bates Email
By: MacKenzie Bates Email

More than 150 people in Hazard got the chance to see a documentary tonight about the worst school bus accident in U.S. History.

26 students and the driver died when their bus went over an embankment and into the Big Sandy River in 1958.

22 children survived.

We were at The Forum for the screening of "The Very Worst Thing."

The film has several ties to Hazard and the director says it made sense to show it here.

“One of the first reporters that was on the scene was Ernest Sparkman, a legendary radio broadcaster for WSGS and Ernest is featured in the film,” Michael Crisp says. “We have about five minutes of audio from him broadcasting on the evening of the wreck.”

After the documentary premiered in Prestonsburg, more survivors of the crash came forward to speak with Crisp.

One of them was Winston Dillon. He agreed to be a part of the documentary.

“We went to his house and we interviewed and subsequently his interview appears in the film so tonight's movie is one of the first times it's been seen since we've made a few tweaks to it,” Crisp says.

Several people we talked to say the documentary puts so much in perspective.

“My parents were glued to the media and the bus was pulled out after dinner on Sunday and it affected me so much and being an educator, certainly had me touched by this film,” Carole Combs says.

“It's kind of hard to imagine anything worse than losing a child,” Shawn Hopkins says. “This was 26 children at once. It's just a big whack to this one community that has still not really recovered from.”

“It’s been just a tremendous testament to the power of the film and how the entire community of Floyd County as well as eastern Kentucky has just wrapped themselves around it,” Crisp says.

Crisp is hoping to be able to show the documentary at film festivals all across the country.

The documentary will also be shown in Corbin, Ashland, Paintsville, Jackson and again in Prestonsburg during the next couple of months.


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