25 years later: Carroll Co. bus crash survivor shares his story

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by Johnny Archer

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 14 at 2:54 PM

RADCLIFF, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of the Carrollton bus crash that killed 27 people - the deadliest drunk driving accident in U.S. history.  

Jason Booher is one of 67 passengers aboard the bus when when a drunken driver crossed the center median on Interstate 71 and slammed into the bus causing it to burst into flames May 14, 1988. Tuesday he returned to his alma mater, Hardin County High School, and spoke about that fateful day to the junior and senior classes.  

Booher said the day began with a church group trip to Kings Island amusement park and was poised to be one of the ‘greatest days of his life.’ That was until the day ended tragically when a Larry Mahoney crashed into their bus. Booher remembers the impact of the crash throwing him in to the seat in front of him. Then he recalls a sudden burst of flames.

Booher said there were only a front and rear exit doors, but the front door was on fire and people could only escape from the rear of the bus.

Booher, just 13-years-old at the time, was able to escape with minor injuries, but his best friend was killed.

“Thirteen years old is such a precious age and fragile age,” Booher said. “To go through what all of us had to go through that day, it’s something that you could probably never describe as a 13 year old. It’s something that you would never wish on anybody. It’s something like what you would see on TV and it really wouldn’t happen to you, but it happened. It’s something that affected not only the survivors but the family members of the ones that didn’t make it out, a whole community in Radcliff, a whole state and nation.”

Booher said he feels it is his mission now to teach kids the importance staying of sober while driving.

Since the bus crash, tighter safety measures on school buses were put into place and the legal limit for drinking and driving was lowered.

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