ROCHESTER, Ind. (AP) — A motorist whose pickup truck struck four children crossing a northern Indiana highway, killing three, told authorities she didn't realize a school bus headed in the opposite direction was stopped in front of her.
A court recording reveals 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd of Rochester told an Indiana State Police detective she saw something with lights in front of her, but didn't recognize it as a school bus.
Another driver estimated Shepherd's speed at 45 mph. The posted speed limit is 55 mph.
The crash Tuesday morning killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl. The surviving child, unrelated to the siblings, is hospitalized with multiple injuries.
Shepherd is charged with reckless homicide. She's scheduled for an initial hearing Nov. 13 in Rochester, located about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Indianapolis.
Who exactly were the three Indiana kids killed at their bus stop?
By: Travis Robinson
MENTONE, Ind. (WNDU) --
All three kids killed at their bus stop were from the same family. They were siblings, students, sons and a daughter. Police say a woman driving a truck passed a school bus while its safety arm was extended.
A fourth child was airlifted to a hospital.
The driver of the truck, Alyssa Shepherd, 24, was arrested Tuesday afternoon. She has been charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one count of passing a school bus with its safety arm extended and causing injury.
Indiana State Police confirm Shepherd had her two young children in the truck at the time of the collision, as well as her younger brother, who police say is a minor. None of the passengers was injured.
The children who died in the crash are more than what we can put into a news piece that runs for a minute and a half, but we want to give you an idea of who these kids were.
Their uncle Elgin Ingle said the day he heard his brother, Shane, was having twins, he told him he was in for a rough time. Since then, he thought he was wrong as he saw his brother's life change for the better when two spitting images of him popped into the world.
"I don't even know where to start!" Ingle said. "Those two smiles could light up the whole world, not just a room!"
The two boys often played with their monster and enjoyed a little bit of the outdoors.
"Good American boys," Ingle said. "The way it was supposed to be. Play in the woods, ride four-wheelers."
Those two boys had an older sister, Alivia, who wasn't Shane's biological daughter. Ingle said he gave her so much love, you couldn't tell the difference.
Alivia loved playing softball. Ingle said softball was her passion and she was extremely good at it. He said if you had to describe her, "softball" would be the word to use. But he also had even better words to describe her.
"Alivia is a saint," Ingle said. "She really is. Those two brothers of hers - she's gung-ho on just being there. She held those boys' hands every day to school. Held those boys' hands onto the school bus, and she was holding their hands when they all went. She's the ideal big sister."
All three of those children brought a light into their families' worlds.
"All three of them were the most loving children you will ever meet," Ingle said.
Now that they're gone, it's ripped a huge hole in this family's collective heart.
“They can’t walk into their house and see their family pictures," Ingle said. "They were a family. They're what a family is supposed to be. Every activity, just this weekend they were all dressed up as Dr. Seuss characters. The whole family! Mom, dad, the kids. Today is trick or treat and they can’t even wear their costumes out. This is horrible, and it could have been prevented."
Ingle said they've tried to move the bus stop in the past, since it's dangerous being on a major road.
“They’ve begged them forever, ‘Please let them start parking the bus inside so the kids don’t have to cross a highway,'" Ingle said. "School didn’t listen. And now, now today, they put out a press release saying that from now on they’ll pull into the trailer park. Well, good for you! It only took three lives. Children’s safety is first, no matter what.”
Ingle said the last thing he told those kids was, "I love you." But he wishes he could have said more.
“When you lose your kids, you’re not going to get a warning," Ingle said. "So make every second count. Every second. All the 'I love yous,' all the kisses, all the hugs, give to them. Give it to them every day. Because you don’t get a chance to know when you’re going to lose your kids.”
After this incident, the school corporation sat down and decided to create a transportation safety board of their own in the hopes that this never happens again. Ingle says that's the reason he's talking with news outlets, to make sure change happens.