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Relatives Angered Over Memorial’s Removal

April 15, 1989

RADCLIFF, Ky. (AP) _ A memorial erected anonymously at the site of a bus crash that killed 27 people has been removed by the state as a safety hazard.

″It’s a real kick in the teeth to a whole group of people who are still hurting,″ said the Rev. Don Tennison of the First Assembly of God in the victims’ hometown. ″I can’t understand why bureaucrats can’t have more compassion.″

Two crosses surrounded by colorful flowers appeared in the median of Interstate 71 shortly after the accident last May, in which a church bus collided head-on with a pickup truck going the wrong way near Carrolton.

Kenny French, head of the state Highway Department district office in Covington, ordered the memorial removed late last month.

Mark McDaniel, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said a tractor-trailer driver complained of nearly rear-ending a car that slowed to look at the memorial.

″Then we had others complaining of near misses, and people parking on both shoulders of the highway and in the median, and walking across the highway,″ McDaniel said. ″We were afraid someone else would get killed.″

″We realize it’s a very emotional situation, but what if another family member was struck by a car there? We’ve got 27 dead and we don’t need 28 at the same location.″

Tennison said the crosses were a ″testament that drinking and driving do not mix.″

Larry Mahoney, the alleged drunken driver of the pickup, is awaiting trial on 27 charges of murder in the crash.

The crosses and flowers will be given to those who erected them if their identities are learned, officials said.

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