Driver Arrested In Deaths Of 3 Schoolchildren

Published on October 30, 2018 06:18 PM in Safe Driving
Driver Arrested In Deaths Of 3 Schoolchildren

An Indiana family is mourning the deaths of three of its children who were struck by a vehicle while crossing the street to get to their school bus Tuesday morning. 

Identical twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle, both age 6, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, were struck and killed as they crossed the street to their school bus, according to Indiana State Police. The crash occured around 7:15 a.m. in Rochester, a city about 60 miles west of Fort Wayne. 

Indiana State Police arrested Alyssa Shepherd, 24, on suspicion of reckless homicide. Police further allege the driver of the Toyota Tacoma ran a stop sign and caused serious bodily injury to an 11-year-old, in addition to killing the three children. 

Police believe the three siblings and their 11-year-old schoolmate were crossing the street to their school bus when Shepherd struck them. Authorities said the school bus was waiting with its signals and flashers operating in the southbound lane, while the vehicle approached from the northbound lane.

The crash is under investigation. Police said Shepherd stayed at the scene after the crash, and submitted a blood sample to check for impairment.

The children were going to Mentone Elementary school in nearby Mentone, where Alivia had been on the honor roll. The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, which runs Mentone Elementary, expressed grief and solidarity on its facebook page. 

"[We] wish to ask the community to come together to pray for the families, our students and our staff."

The National Safety Council, an advocacy group focused on eliminating preventable deaths, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon. The group said the tragedy is a painful reminder that while school buses are largely safe, the area immediately surrounding them poses significant safety risks. 

Seventy percent of deaths related to school buses occur outside the bus, the group reminds.  

The profound trauma of Tuesday's tragedy overwhelmed some first responders. Sgt. Tony Slocum of the Indiana State Police told reporters,

"It's been a while since I've seen first responders cry, but I saw some tears shed today."