1. Bus full of children struck by drunken driver
The worst bus accident in U.S. history occurred in May of 1988 on the way back from a church trip to an amusement park. The First Assembly of God Church in Kentucky sponsored a youth trip to King’s Island amusement park. Around 11PM on the way home, the bus full of children was struck by a black pick-up truck, driven by a very drunk Larry Wayne Mahoney. He had been driving in the against traffic on the interstate. He struck the bus head-on, disabling the front door of the bus and broke the gas tank. The bus was surrounded by flames in just a few minutes. Twenty-seven passengers died, and 34 were injured; most were gravely injured. Mahony was sentenced to 16 years in jail. Two of the mothers of the victims became President and Vice President of the National MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) Association. It was determined that the lack of emergency exits, fragility of the gas tank, flammability of the seats and a cooler that was blocking the only functioning exit, all contributed to the high fatality rate.
2. The Tennessee fog pile-up
In December 11, 1990, a dense fog covered the I-75 roads in Tennessee. There were numerous warning signs, but the conditions deteriorated too fast for the signs to assist the motorists. The intense conditions caused a 70 car pile-up down the I-75. The accident scene covered the roads for half a mile and caused 13 deaths. Thirty-three different fire companies responded and the car fires only added to the chaos and made visibility even worse. Since this incident, Tennessee has improved fog warning systems with fog sensors that can alert motorists on highway signs and also to close on-ramps to avoid pile-ups. Reflective markers and flashing lights were also installed to guide cars stuck in fog.
3. The Mighty Dust Storm
On November 29, 1991, traffic increased rapidly, as travelers returned home from Thanksgiving weekend. California was going through a severe drought. The 40 mph winds along the I-5 in California created a violent dust storm that greatly impaired visibility. This caused a pile up of 104 vehicles, including 4 tractors over one mile of the highway. After multiple hours of rescue efforts, 17 people had died and 150 were seriously injured. Thousands more were trapped in their cars for another day while road crews cleared the roads and worked to reopen the highway after the wreck.
4. The Fourth of July
On July 4th, 1988, Kevin Chittum, and his fiancée, his 13 year old sister, 11 year old niece, and 2 of his niece’s friends squeezed into one car and headed to a county fair. The couple’s three year old daughter, had begged to come, but there was no room. The parents stopped 2 times to call and check on the sad girl, promising to return with candy. A storm prepared itself to hit their area. Once caught in the storm, the car hit a bump in the road, hydroplaned, and struck an 18-wheeler head-on. All passengers were killed, including the driver of the 18-wheeler.
5. The TollBooth Crash
In January of 1983, seven people were killed when a truck struck multiple vehicles at a toll booth in Connecticut. When the truck struck the vehicles, it created a deadly explosion which killed 7 and injured 3 people. The truck had veered into a ?cars only? lane. The reasons remain unknown. One of the victims, a pre-school aged boy, died after being on life support a few days following the accident.
6. The Frosty Fiasco
On January 19, 2009, an ice and snow storm caused at least 20 cashes in one night in Maryland. The worst one was a 7 tractor-trailers and 35 car pile-up. This caused 2 fatalities and injured 35 victims, of which 12 were seriously injured.