LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Tuesday will mark 25 years since the deadliest DUI crash in our nation's history. Years later, the pain from the Carroll County bus crash has not gotten any easier. Twenty seven people were killed and 34 injured.
Karolyn Nunnallee lost her daughter Patty, 10, in the crash which happened after Larry Mahoney drove the wrong way on Interstate 71 and hit the church youth group from Radcliff head on. The school bus carrying the group home from Kings Island burst into flames. Karolyn became the national president for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and vows to make a difference for her daughter.
"My daughter Patty was not only the youngest to die but, according to autopsy reports she was the last to die," said Nunnallee. "I remember her words, Mommie I want to make a difference. My daughter was dead she couldn't make a difference so, I got dressed I marched down and I met an incredible woman. Lelia S. Haddle, the spokesperson for MADD Hardin County."
Nunnallee says since Patty's death, over 1400 pieces of legislation and anti drunk driving legislation have been passed throughout this country. Nunnallee says the work is not done.
"Tomorrow as I face the 25th anniversary of Patty's death, as strange as it may seem, I indeed will celebrate," said Nunnallee. "I will celebrate the fact that God allowed me to have her for 10 years. The true tragedy would be to never have known my beautiful child."
Mahoney is now 58 and was released from prison in 1999 after serving 10 years. Karolyn's efforts helped strengthen DUI laws, lower DUI limits, and increase school bus safety for all children.
For the 25th anniversary, one of the survivors will speak to students at North Hardin High School about the crash and about drinking and driving.