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1988 bus crash documentary in editing phase

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By Amber Coulter

Landmark News Service

A documentary about the tragic bus crash in Carroll County is in the editing phase.

Shooting for “IMPACT: After the Crash” is finished except for a few possible additional segments, and editing is about halfway finished.

Director Jason Epperson hopes to be ready for a private showing of the documentary by the 25th anniversary of the crash on May 14, 1988, that killed 27 and injured 34.

“I can tell that this is going to be a very powerful project,” he said.

The bus, carrying 67 passengers to King’s Island, was struck by a pickup truck driven by a drunken driver going the wrong direction on Interstate 71 in Carroll County.

Harold “Bubba” Dennis, a former North Hardin High School athlete and University of Kentucky football player, is assisting with the project.

The anniversary showing is planned to be in Hardin County and is organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for survivors and family members of those involved in the tragedy.

The organization also wants to help promote the film, and talk about it already has begun, Epperson said.

“Today” has approached Epperson about highlighting the documentary, but there are no current plans for that.

“It’s nice to know they think so much of the project that they reached out to us,” he said.
Epperson wants to have showings near the anniversary.

He is unsure of when he’ll be able to have the first public viewing because he thinks there is potential for the film to be entered in some fairly large festivals. Many of those festivals are particular about when entered films have their first showing, preferring they be unveiled during the festival.

Editing a film for 10 hours a day about what remains the worst drunken driving crash in the nation’s history can be emotionally challenging, Epperson said.

“I’ve shed a few tears because it’s hitting me in a way I hadn’t expected, and that’s how I know that I’m doing something great,” he said.

The film is going well, Epperson said.

“I’m really, really proud of this project, and I’m excited,” he said. “It’s really come together.”

The director thinks the documentary should be entertaining while also being educational and teaching about the danger of drinking and driving and how one bad decision affected so many lives.

It’s surprising how many children never have heard of the crash, Epperson said.

Some survivors and involved families have overcome the tragedy and used the experience to inspire those around them. Others still are struggling, he said.

Epperson hopes the film shows those factors to audiences and does justice to the tragedy.

“I want them to talk about it,” he said. “I want them to leave it and talk about it and start asking questions and have them think.”

Epperson said putting together the documentary has been a worthwhile project, and he is honored and humbled to be part of it.

“If I never make another film, this would be the film to make,” he said. “That’s really how I feel about it.”