Carrollton bus crash survivor says another drunk driver hit her

Tammy Darnell
Tammy Darnell

By Janelle MacDonald - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A victim of the most notorious drunk driving crash in Kentucky says it has happened to her again. Now, Tammy Darnell is struggling to recover for a second time.

On May 14, 1988, Larry Mahoney changed Darnell's life by driving drunk the wrong way down Interstate 71 and crashing into the church bus she was in. She was 16 at the time.

Darnell broke her collarbone, but she survived. 27 of her friends, mostly children, died in the Carrollton bus crash. Now Darnell says it's happened again.

"Lightning struck me twice," Darnell said.

On the morning of March 27, Darnell was driving down Highway 448 near Brandenburg Station in Meade County. She says the driver of the other car was in her lane and she had nowhere to go.

"He hit me head on and threw me into the ditch," Darnell said. "Meade County told me that they're waiting for the blood alcohol test."

Says since the bus crash, Darnell says always been a little afraid on the road, for herself and her three teenage children.

"I don't like drinking and driving anyway," Darnell said. "You know, it's changed my life once and now not only has it changed my life, it's changed my kids' life."

Darnell is facing another month in the hospital, and a full year until doctors say they will understand the full extent of her injuries. She is mad, but who wouldn't be? However, Darnell is handling it with a calm that is hard to understand.

"I can get upset but what good is it going to do? Then he wins again," Darnell said. "You know, there's a reason why you go through everything and he knows how much we can handle so, why me? I'll never know but I'll pick up the pieces and go on."

The Meade County Sheriff's Office says the investigation into Darnell's crash continues. On the day we did this story, the investigating officer was not in the office. We'll keep you posted as we get more information.

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