Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fifty Seven Years Ago Today, in Floyd County Kentucky

"It's the worst thing that's ever happened in Floyd County...the very worst thing"

"On the morning of February 28, 1958, junk dealer Donald Horn slowed to investigate a truck off the road in a ditch. Behind him, a Floyd County school bus, apparently not seeing Horn's wrecker in time, struck the rear of the vehicle, swerved across U.S. Route 23, and plunged into the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River.

The normally docile stream had been transformed by rain and flooding into a swiftly moving river thirty feet deep, twenty feet above flood stage. What might have been a multi-injury accident became a tragedy as panic-stricken school children broke windows and fought to get out the back door before the bus sank. Of the forty-eight on board, twenty-two escaped. The rest – twenty-six children and the driver – were carried downstream and under the water in the fierce current.

The accident occurred at Knotley Hollow, three miles south of  Prestonsburg. It was immediately labeled the worst traffic accident in state history and the National Safety Council called it the worst highway accident involving children in the nation's history."

The Prestonsburg school bus disaster inspired a documentary entitled, "The Very Worst Thing" by Kentucky filmmaker Michael Crisp and two songs, "No School Bus in Heaven" by the Stanley Brothers and "The Tragedy of Bus 27" by Ralph Bowman.

I'll be posting videos of the 2 songs "The Tragedy of Bus 27" by Ralph Bowman and  "No School Bus in Heaven" by the Stanley Brothers this weekend. Below is the 'trailer' for the documentary  "The Very Worst Thing" by Kentucky filmmaker Michael Crisp........

Here is a link of interest to a paper published by the Kentucky National Guard, who were amongst the heroes in the aftermath of this tragedy:
Kentucky National guard 50th Anniversary Remembrance

My Collins line has deep roots in Floyd County Kentucky. My 4th Great-grandfather and his family were early settlers there, having migrated from East Tennessee, though the Pound Gap into old Floyd County. My Dad was born in Weeksbury Kentucky, then a small coal mining town.

This weekend I'm gonna take sometime and reflect on this tragedy and offer a small prayer for all those that were involved. I'm hoping readers of this blog will take a little time and do this same thing.........

Hat Tip to Janet Crain for her inspiration to write this article

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