Bus crash killed 27 people in Carrollton, KY — May 14, 1988

This tragedy involved a former school bus, being used by a church youth group, and a pickup truck that was being driven the wrong-way on a divided highway by an impaired driver.

The head-on collision was the deadliest incident involving drunk driving and the equal 3rd-deadliest bus crash in U.S. history.

The crash occurred on Interstate 71 in Carroll County, Kentucky, between Cincinnati and Louisville.

The front right corner of the pick-up truck struck the front right corner of the bus, which resulted in a leaf-spring from the bus suspension being punched backwards, rupturing the gas tank. This created a leak which it is believed was ignited by sparks as the metal bodywork of the bus scraped along the asphalt.

The resultant fire killed everyone who had been unable to get out of the bus in time.

Larry Mahoney, the drunk driver of the pick-up truck, was sentenced to imprisonment for 16 years after a jury convicted him of 27 counts of manslaughter in the second degree, 16 counts of assault in the second degree, and 27 counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree.

Mahoney actually served 10 years and 11 months, prior to his release.

Several parents of children who were killed in the crash became very active members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD].

Longer summaries are available from:

Crash-site coordinates: 38.605241 N – 85.170261 W


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