Bus crash anniversary coverage begins in Sunday's edition

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A second-hand school bus struck by a drunken driver's pickup truck burst into flames against the night sky.

It's been 25 years since 27 people - including 24 children - died on the curvy stretch of Interstate 71 in Carroll County. Most of the 40 other children on board required hospital care. Some still carry obvious scars from the fiery crash and all deal with some form of emotional scar.

The bus was on its way back to First Assembly of God in Radcliff after a day-long outing to King's Island amusement park. A quarter century later, families and the community still mourn when confronted with their memories.

In four days of special coverage, The News-Enterprise explores the bus crash's impact on the occupants and their families, the community and laws regarding bus safety and alcohol use.

Our Precious Loss: 25 years later begins in Sunday's edition of The News-Enterprise.

Survivors will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the wreck in a familiar setting. A memorial service is slated from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday inside the gymnasium of North Hardin High School in Radcliff, said Lee Williams, who lost his wife and two daughters in the crash.

Williams said the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Jan Withers, is scheduled to speak, as is Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall.

Survivors are expected to share their thoughts during the one-hour memorial. A full agenda of speakers has not yet been released.

Williams said the memorial service was scheduled at the school because organizers are expecting a crowd of 500 or more, which is too large for North Hardin Memorial Gardens, the site of the bus crash memorial, and Radcliff First Assembly of God, the home church of most of the victims.

Following the service, a private viewing of the documentary IMPACT: After the Crash will be held at the Historic State Theater in Elizabethtown for survivors and families of the victims.