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Special Projects

  • Crash film 'artfully done'

    Thomas Hertz didn’t sleep Tuesday night.

    Along with many survivors from the church bus crash near Carrollton, Hertz observed the 25th anniversary of the crash Tuesday by attending a private viewing of the documentary “IMPACT: After the Crash” at the Historic State Theater in Elizabethtown.

    The 82-minute documentary took survivors back to that fateful night in 1988. To the parents and families of those who died in the crash, it provided further insight into what their loved ones endured on Interstate 71.

  • Memorial shines light on 25 years of healing

    Martha Tennison still can hear the clamor of excited children looking forward to a day at King’s Island.

  • Booher recalls crash, spreads message of hope to NHHS

    Jason Booher has told his story of tragedy and redemption many, many times. On Tuesday, he brought his story to students at North Hardin High School, a significant place in his life.

  • Our precious loss: For Cummins, like many, life changed 25 years ago

    Everyone on the crash scene the night of May 14, 1988, believed anyone who was still alive was off the bus. And then Carey Aurentz emerged from the wreckage.

    Carey Aurentz Cummins’ thoughts often return to that May night, to a church bus returning home to Radcliff after a day at King’s Island in Ohio. She remembers sitting in the front row aisle seat, door side, talking with Phillip Morgan, Billy Nichols and Emillie Thompson, who invited her on the trip.

    Seconds later, her familiar life came to an end as a new one began.

  • Our precious loss: May 14, 1988: From park fun to roadway tragedy

    It wasn’t until a few days before the trip to King’s Island north of Cincinnati that Jerry and Jeff Wheeler knew for certain they would be allowed to attend.

    “I remember begging mom to let us go,” said Jerry Wheeler. “I wanted to go to maybe meet some new people. It was a really fun day leading up to what happened on the way home.”

  • Our precious loss: Carrollton crash ignited local efforts in SADD, MADD

    It was clear to Maria Batistoni what the agenda of the first meeting of the newly-formed Students Against Driving Drunk at North Hardin High School needed to be in the fall of 1988.

    “They needed to heal, they were raw,” she said of the students.

    More than 200 students had joined the club, formed months after the bus crash near Carrollton that killed 27 people, including 24 children. Some were students at North.

    “What do the kids need?” Batistoni said she asked herself. “What do I need? We need a hug.”

  • Our precious loss: A home destroyed, a life renewed

    On May 14, 1988, Lee Williams’ life ceased to make sense. Family was replaced with emptiness, routine swallowed up by chaos.

    He lost everything in a bus crash on Interstate 71 that killed 27 people, leaving him alone to contemplate the senseless violence of one destructive decision by a drunken driver.

  • Our precious loss: Old glove still catches memories

    Before Larry Mahoney chose to consume alcohol, climb behind the wheel of a pickup truck and drive the wrong way on Interstate 71, a young girl returned to the U.S. from Germany and told her parents she wanted to play softball.

    Before a group of children and chaperones from Radcliff First Assembly of God cheerfully prepared for a trip to King’s Island, their hopes and dreams intact, there was a worn ball glove belonging to the girl’s father, its dimensions never quite conforming to her small hand.

  • Our precious loss: Congregation bonded by grief

    Martha Tennison had preached many times at Radcliff First Assembly of God. but no previous sermon prepared her to deliver the message of God’s faithfulness to the weeping congregation May 15, 1988, in a voice choked with tears.

    Martha called her husband at 11 the night before to see whether their 15-year-old son had made it back from a trip to King’s Island on a bus with other church youth, chaperones and guests.

  • Our precious loss: Bus safety improved after crash

    Twenty-five years ago, 15-year-old Quinton Higgins spent about a month in Kosair Children’s Hospital after suffering lung damage and second- and third-degree burns  in the fiery bus crash.

    Today, Higgins drives a Hardin County Schools bus.

    The differences between the bus he drives every school day and the repurposed 1977 Ford B-700 school bus he was in that night in 1988 are like “night and day,” Higgins said.

    “It’s just a totally different bus today,” he said.