1988 bus crash left a legacy of pain but led to safety changes

There are 20 comments on the The Courier-Journal story from May 14, 2008, titled 1988 bus crash left a legacy of pain but led to safety changes. In it, The Courier-Journal reports that:

“I hope bringing the story back out will wake up some people”

On May 14, 1988, after a day of riding roller coasters at Kings Island near Cincinnati, 63 chattering children and four chaperones packed into a church bus for a 9 p.m. trip back to Radcliff, Ky. via The Courier-Journal

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Courier-Journal.

Remembrance

Gradyville, KY

#1 May 15, 2008
I remember this as it was yesterday. My friends daughter was on this bus with a friend and they both survived. One with no burns and the other you could not recognize her from her school picture. The burns to her face and body was so bad. I am glad that they are having a vigil and pray that all people, young and old, realize the effects of drinking and driving. If I was still in the area I would be there. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Robert

United States

#2 Dec 8, 2008
This is a crime shame that 27 foks lost there life I sure do hope that someone out there realizes the effects of there actions I wish I could have done something for them all what a shame I do remember this well first of all the fuel tank should have been protected in first place
Mee

Radcliff, KY

#3 Jan 22, 2009
Robert wrote:
This is a crime shame that 27 foks lost there life I sure do hope that someone out there realizes the effects of there actions I wish I could have done something for them all what a shame I do remember this well first of all the fuel tank should have been protected in first place
Can't blame the bus. Need to blame the sorry jerk that was drunk. He is the one that killed those people. My step brother was on that bus and he still has bad dreams to this day.
BBB

United States

#4 Aug 16, 2009
I agree,buses are like planes and not designed to crash. Another thing is the church bought a worn out school bus for a song,had they spent the money for a modern diesel this would not have happened. I remember where I was that day,my son was supposed to have been on the bus but did not go.I lost a few friends and had many more hurt.The guy should not have drank and should not have gotten on the road going the wrong way,then again I forgive him. he had no way of knowing a simple mistake that happens everyday could affect so many lifes.Bad judgement dosent make him a killer.Ford motor company paid out a fortune which was also wrong.The church bought a piece of junk worn out bus for 700.00 bucks and put kids on the interstate in it.The church should have been sued,not ford.
It is still a tragedy and I pray for the familys every week,at my new church.
first time

Elizabethtown, KY

#5 Nov 16, 2009
The church was doing what they could to make sure the children of the church had some good clean fun. The bus was street safe. No one could have imagined the horror that was going to happen. A SIMPLE mistake!?!? It is not as if Mahoney had one or two drinks. Nothing was simple about his (yes) mistake. It was a great tragedy. Some feel as if we should just drop the story. I feel like if the families still need it and it might help for people learn. Why not? Not everyone has learned. I used to work in a bar and saw at least one of the survivors drive drunk. Nothing I said or did mattered. This person was obviously not "awakened." Everyone will take hearing the story again different. Hopefully we all tell our kids.
Worthville Girl

Bowling Green, KY

#6 Dec 3, 2009
My father was at the time a member of the carroll county rescue squad a father of 4 and a friend of larry mahoney they also worked together and I remember it all very well for years u couldn't leave carroll county and tell where u were from without comments about "the bus crash" like the whole county were to blame. I still think that we should try to help those involved and raise awareness cause apparently people haven't learned any lessons from this tragedy as for the comment made by "first time" try calling 911 and telling them there is a drunk driver next time you may save a life hell maybe even mine u may be called a rat by some but in my book u would be a hero
Rob

Dayton, OH

#7 Jan 16, 2010
One of My Coworker,s daughter was killed by a drunk driver she was celebrateing her 29,th b day when she was killed the guy who caused the accident was 23 yrs old when it happend what a waste of life allfor nothing he not only killed her but a friend of hers as well they were both on a motorcycle they were hit from behind they didnt even see that drunk driver comeing right now the young man who caused the accident is doing 2 life terms this happend back in sept of 2000 in grove city ohio some just dont learn or care
suthrn

Campbellsville, KY

#8 Jan 19, 2010
there is nothing simple about a man driving intoxicated way over the legal limit the wrong way on an interstate without his headlights on in the middle of the night - if you remember correctly that was the first accident of its kind, think of all the school buses that was on the road at that time without the protective cage and you want to blame a church for that accident, i agree ford shouldnt of been sued but lawyers always go after the money, the only one that could possibly be held responsible would be larry mahoney, he was the one that drove the truck when he shouldnt have.
BBB wrote:
I agree,buses are like planes and not designed to crash. Another thing is the church bought a worn out school bus for a song,had they spent the money for a modern diesel this would not have happened. I remember where I was that day,my son was supposed to have been on the bus but did not go.I lost a few friends and had many more hurt.The guy should not have drank and should not have gotten on the road going the wrong way,then again I forgive him. he had no way of knowing a simple mistake that happens everyday could affect so many lifes.Bad judgement dosent make him a killer.Ford motor company paid out a fortune which was also wrong.The church bought a piece of junk worn out bus for 700.00 bucks and put kids on the interstate in it.The church should have been sued,not ford.
It is still a tragedy and I pray for the familys every week,at my new church.
ha ha

Canada

#9 Jun 16, 2010
He did his time!!! You think he doesn't think about it everyday!!! Wake your damn self up!!!
truthbeknown

Barnesville, OH

#10 Jun 16, 2010
No one living in Kentucky or the surrounding states will ever forget the tragedy of May 14, 1988. Mr. Mahoney was drunk, driving the wrong way on the interstate and yes, killed 27 individuals. Mr. Mahoney also did the time given to him by a judge and jury. We all can say what should have been done different that day. The bus wasn't in the correct shape to be driven on the road, the isles of the bus shouldn't have been filled with coolers,etc, Mr.Mahoney shouldn't have been on the road that terrible night. All we can do now is learn from this horrible accident...so that is doesn't happen again. Lets remember the 27 individuals that died that evening. Lets keep in our prayers the individuals that survive so they can lived as normal a life as possible. Let remember that Mr. Mahoney did his time and probably doesn't go a day in his life without remorse for the accident his actions that day caused.
ha ha

Canada

#11 Jun 16, 2010
Very true truthbeknown ...
Sad

Bowling Green, KY

#12 Jun 22, 2010
Don't Drink And Drive....Too many people are killed by wreckless behaviour like this. You don't know the pain, unless you have lost someone to a drunk driver....
been there

Lockport, IL

#13 Jun 22, 2010
Sad wrote:
Don't Drink And Drive....Too many people are killed by wreckless behaviour like this. You don't know the pain, unless you have lost someone to a drunk driver....
I have lost someone to a drunk driver, and I do believe in forgiveness. If you can't forgive you can't live. Larry Mahoney has served his time and was judged by the court. This man served his time and what most of you don't know is that Larry actually turned down early release when it was offered to him. How many people do you all know that would turn down early release. Larry knows he made a mistake and hes the one that has to live with it the rest of his life, get off this mans back. Who are any of you to judge him.
wonderin

Princeton, KY

#14 Feb 11, 2011
it is so sad to hear about this my mom was spouse to be on that bus and but she wasnt i dont know wat i would do if somthin happened to my daughter son brother sister mom dad nobody whould be the same

Since: Dec 10

United States

#15 Feb 12, 2011
I remember the night. Driving through back home. We passed the accident right after it happened. You could smell the burning of flesh. Most horrible thing I've ever smelled. But my thoughts are, Larry has done his time. Others think that he should have gotten a worse sentence. But if anyone remembers he came up for poarol a few times and he turned it down himself. Do you not think that he relives that day everyday? He has to live with this along with the families who lost loving members of their families. But think about it we have child molesters living everywhere in this town and probly most don't even think they have done anything wrong. Larry knows he has done something wrong, unlike these others who are probly looking upon our children everyday. Larry does work now and he keeps to himself. I do give prayers out to every family that has been envolved with this. But let a man live at least cause he is probly causing himself more than we could ever.

“Work hard play hard”

Since: Jan 11

Location hidden

#16 Feb 12, 2011
That was a very long, sad night. Larry will never forget what happened that night, nor will he ever get over it like the rest of us. The sad part is, with everyone knowing the story, not one person in town stopped drinking and driving. It only got worse. So stop and think a moment when you drink, it can be your child, your friends, your family in that car that YOU hit because YOU made a bad choice.
BigDntheBigC

Louisville, KY

#17 Feb 12, 2011
Can anybody post a link 2 the story of it in the courier journal? I clicked it up top where it says 2 but it says it can't be found.Or any story of it 4 that matter,is there a book or anything like that? So i can read what exactly happened,i mean i remember it but it was a very long time ago & u know how u just hear about what happened & thats that. would like 2 read about it

“Work hard play hard”

Since: Jan 11

Location hidden

#18 Feb 13, 2011
your best info would be public record from the police station
FKHS alum

Mayfield, KY

#19 Aug 29, 2011
I had just graduated FKHS the year prior to this terrible accident and had a friend on the bus that went to FKHS) and my girlfriend (at that time) was supposed to be on the bus put didn't make it in the morning when it left. But I hope that kids have learned from this accident.
Hmp

North Vernon, IN

#20 Aug 29, 2011
Know what I rememnber..... that the state decided to use Mr Mahoney as an example for all who drank and drove they were sending a message to all that if you take a life while under the influence you will do time. WELL HELL how about the three men who were killed on the way home from Madison indiana a short time later and ALL three died because the person driving was drunk. The driver received a slap on the wrist for their actions. Or how about the countless others who died because of it and the drunks still walk around without one day in jail. Can you please let this rest now. It is done and nothing is gonna change the facts or outcome of it. DAMN

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