MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Being a coach and a teacher has been a way for Jason Booher to influence young people.
“The good Lord has given me a good platform through high school basketball coaching,” Booher said.
But now he’s a school chief, heading up the Mercer County district. And in his spare time he’s running, and his focus is now on marathons, including the New York City Marathon.
“I’m trying to run all six of them to raise awareness of drinking and driving,” Booher said.
Booher knows all too well the consequences of drunk driving. His best friend died in a crash.
“That was the end of my 8th grade year, and since 1st grade, Chad Witt was my best friend,” Booher said.
Witt was sitting right beside him on May 14, 1988, when he and 26 others died in the nation’s worst drunk driving crash. A pickup slammed head-on into the church bus on its way home from Kings Island. Booher was one of 40 survivors.
“I was able to get out quickly by going down the window, crawling on the seats, jumping out the emergency exit,” Booher said.
His message is #27reasons for the 27 who died in that fiery crash.
“A marathon is 26.2 miles, 27 people didn’t make it out of the crash. So in alphabetical order, I dedicate each mile to one of those lost in the crash,” Booher said.
And the last .02 miles is dedicated to Chad Witt.
“What I didn’t want to happen was this story to die down after the crash. To never say that anything positive could come out of the bus crash,” Booher said.
The Carrollton bus crash remains the nation’s worst DUI crash, and Booher hopes with his platform there will never be another one worse than it.
This is the 50th anniversary of the New York City Marathon, with Booher’s story one of 50 inspirational stories to commemorate it.