24 years later Carrollton bus crash survivors reflect, remember

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by Claudia Coffey

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Updated Monday, May 13 at 9:17 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - - It’s known as the worst drunk driving crash in history. It is the 1988 Carrollton bus crash. On May 14, 27 people lost their lives when a truck going the wrong way on I-71 crashed into the bus and ignited an inferno. Quinton Higgins Junior still doesn’t know who pulled him from the bus 24 years later. He was just 15, sitting in row six; he passed out trying to reach the exit. He spent one month in the hospital and is still taken by how the crash affected him, his friends and the community.

“I sometimes forget how it affected people because I don’t see all the devastation, the memorials and the funerals. I was in the hospital. To this day, people that see us or meet us they are wow how do you feel. And I'm like I was in it but you really get to see how it affected people" said Higgins.

Quinton lost 27 friends the night of the Carrollton bus crash. Now he drives a school bus and uses every opportunity he gets to speak to kids, teachers and other bus drivers about bus safety and the importance of not drinking and driving.

“I don’t mind talking about it. When they asked me to start speaking on the bus especially to the kids, it’s amazing" said Higgins.

Quinton wasn’t the only one reflecting and remembering Monday. Heather Klug paid her respects at the memorial in Radcliff. She was supposed to be on the bus but her mother decided to not let her go. She’ll never forget going to school the next day and seeing the empty desks of the five friends she lost.

"I had to see for myself because I just couldn’t believe it. I was a fourth grader, you just don’t know about death. I went into school and waited for them to come in and sit at their desks and they never did” said Klug.

While one of the survivors is certainly thinking about the friends he lost that day. He is preparing for a very important appearance before the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington DC.

Harold Dennis is another survivor and he is speaking to the NTSB and showing them his documentary on the crash.

“So many lives lost, others saved and lessons learned that will hopefully protect others.

This is where God placed me. That’s all I can say" said Higgins.

The crash prompted numerous changes in the safety of school buses.
 

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