May 14 this year marked 27 years since the worst drunk-driving incident in the history of the United States. Before you read this brief summary of the event, you should know that it is an exception to the rule. Most DUI arrests are for first-offense misdemeanor charges, and most drivers charged with DUI haven’t harmed anyone or even damaged any property. If you are charged with DUI in Orange County, contact an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer immediately to obtain the legal representation you will need.
On May 14, 1988, a group consisting of several dozen teens and four adults from the Assembly of God in Radcliff, Kentucky, boarded their church bus and headed to Kings Island theme park, north of Cincinnati and about 170 miles away. They spent the day and early evening at Kings Island, and then they began the return trip. They stopped to fill the 60-gallon gas tank just before crossing into Kentucky. Just after they crossed the state line and entered Carroll County, at 10:55 p.m., 34-year-old Larry Wayne Mahoney, a drunk driver traveling the wrong way on Interstate 71, collided head-on with the bus.
The right front of Mahoney’s pickup hit the right front of the bus, breaking off the bus’s suspension and driving the leaf spring backward into a gas tank mounted behind an exterior panel but outside the heavier frame, just behind the step well for the front door. The tank ruptured, jamming the front door and setting the bus aflame. As seat covers and polyurethane foam padding ignited, the temperature inside the bus jumped by an estimated 2,000 degrees and thick noxious smoke filled the interior of the bus. 27 people died, 34 sustained injuries, and only 6 survived unharmed. Kentucky now requires school buses to have nine emergency exits, more than any other state.
These tragedies thankfully are rare, but they are not rare enough. We all need regular reminders about what can happen if we “innocently” enjoy several drinks before driving. Still, if you are charged with DUI in Orange County, you’ll need legal help, and you’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer as quickly as possible. If you’re charged with the crime, don’t wait to make the call.