30 years later, community remembers deadly bus crash

30 years since deadly bus crash

CARROLL COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - Monday marks 30 years since a drunk driver crashed into a church bus on I-71, killing 27 people and injuring 34.

The images might be faded, but the memories and emotions are still vivid for those impacted by the deadly crash.

The crash involved 67 people, including children, on a church bus heading home from Kings Island on I-71 in Carroll County on May 14, 1988.

Reading the names of the 27 lives lost, loved ones gathered over the weekend to pay tribute.

They reflected on the horrific wreck police say was caused by Larry Mahoney, who was drunk and driving the wrong way when he rammed into the bus that then burst into flames.

"My daughter Patty was the youngest child killed in the crash," Karolyn Nunnallee said.

The tragic events prompted change across the country. From a law enforcement crackdown on drunk driving to new rules on school bus design and safety, including requiring multiple emergency exits.

And Mothers Against Drunk Driving continues to work to ensure none of those killed are ever forgotten.

"When you just read those 27 names, how can one person be responsible for such a horrible, horrible crash?" Nunnallee said.

Forty people, now considered survivors, are taking a moment to soak it all in. Looking at the faces -- the photos of those who are no longer with them -- 30 years later.

"It just really effects you. They're not names; they were people," Nunnallee said.

Mahoney was convicted in the crash and served about 10 years in prison.

Police say the bus had flammable seating and only one emergency exit.

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