On May 14, 1988—25 years ago today, a school bus carrying 67 people, nearly all of them children, was returning from a church youth group field trip to an amusement park. While they were driving through Carroll County, KY, a drunk driver driving on the wrong side of the road crashed into the bus head-on. The fiery crash killed 27 people – 24 children, the bus driver and two adult chaperones – and injured 34 others.
With your support, we’ve come a long way in drunk driving awareness, education and prevention in the past 25 years. But we have so much left to do. Still today, 27 people die each day as a result of drunk driving — the equivalent of one Kentucky bus crash every day.
As a part of the crash anniversary, MADD is partnering with the filmmakers behind a new feature documentary film, IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH, which tells some of the powerful stories of loss and healing through interviews with many of the crash survivors and victims’ family members. MADD, the filmmakers, crash survivors, victims’ families and local residents will hold a public memorial honoring the victims and survivors of the crash. There will also be a private screening of IMPACT, as well as the first public screening of the film.
This week, we honor and remember those impacted by the tragic Kentucky bus crash, and hope that their stories of survivorship will inspire others in their healing journey.
Tragedy is like wind. You can’t see it, but it is there, pushing us forward and holding us back. When the wind gusts; how strong it blows; the direction from which it comes – are all aspects of wind that we cannot predict or prevent, representing the uncontrollable nature of tragedy. And, as the direction of the wind changes, life can spin out of control.
Pinwheels represent our opportunity to harness the wind – to control the seemingly uncontrollable. In Chinese culture, the pinwheel is considered an instrument to turn obstacles into opportunities. So we blow our pinwheels to symbolize us taking control of the healing journey in our lives.
Much like the uniqueness of a pinwheel, the healing journey of each and every person is different. There simply is no right or wrong way to feel. For some remembering brings more pain than solace, and for others, talking about the tragedy is helpful.
This week in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Kentucky Bus crash, we come together to take control of the wind and turn our pain into strength. Participate in our virtual pinwheel display and share a message about your personal healing journey or a message for the 27 killed and 34 injured in the Kentucky bus crash on May 14, 1988—the most deadly alcohol-related crash in U.S. history.
An anniversary recognizes how far one has come—some call for celebration while others serve as a line drawn in the sand. This month, our nation recognizes the 25th anniversary of the Carrollton, Kentucky, bus crash, the most deadly alcohol-related crash in U.S. history. The tragedy remains a heartbreaking reminder of a senseless crime but also serves as a symbol of the shift in our understanding of victim advocacy and marks the beginning of the concept of “crisis response.”
On May 14, 1988, a repeat DUI offender with a .24 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), heading the wrong way down the highway in a pickup truck, slammed into a bus that was returning from a church trip to Kings Island Amusement Park. The fiery crash killed 24 children, the bus driver and two adult chaperones, and injured 34 others.
The majority of American communities are not prepared for a crisis nor are they aware of the resources available to them. That is why MADD is hopeful that the upcoming release of a new feature documentary outlining the horrific Carrollton bus crash will renew attention to the need for a crisis response plan in all communities. IMPACT: After the Crashtells the story of the lives lost on that fateful day as well as the impact on our nation’s understanding of mass casualty and crisis response. Despite all the progress, there is still much work to be done.
Mother’s Day is a special holiday at MADD, since we were founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. But as we all know, it’s not just mothers who are impacted by drunk driving; fathers, children, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends can all be victimized by the traumatic death or injury of a loved one.
MADD Victim Services offers a wide selection of brochures for crash victims, available in English and Spanish, covering grief and healing, talking to children and teens about death, coping with serious injury, the criminal and civil court system, and other topics of interest. You can find that information here.
If you are struggling with grief this Mother's Day, please know MADD is here for you. Our 24/7 Help Line is available at no charge at 877.MADD.HELP (632.3435). You can also read our Holiday Grief Tips to find suggestions for people experiencing bereavement and/or injury for coping during a holiday.
MADD wishes everyone a safe and happy Mother’s Day.
I am very proud of my fellow MADD victim/survivors and victim advocates because we possess both the passion and persistence needed to make change. Together we have done so very successfully, but we need to do more. I am calling on you once again to show your passion and persistence.
Over the past 20 years, I have held hands with and listened to thousands of victims. During this time I have seen too many incidents where victims were denied their basic rights to be present at the hearing of their case, or to be able to tell the judge the effects this crime has had on their lives at sentencing. Even though we have statutes in every state to protect the victims’ rights, there is a U.S. Constitutional Amendment supporting criminals’ rights, which frequently trumps the rights of victims. And while many states have victims’ rights amendments, again, the Federal Constitution trumps those.
H.J. Res 40 will give rights to victims. Please use your passion and persistence to help our fellow victims and survivors have their basic rights upheld in the criminal justice system. Take action now.