Indiana State Police arrested a 24-year-old woman on felony charges in the deaths of three siblings as they crossed a two-lane road to their school bus.
Alyssa L. Shepherd, 24, of rural Rochester, Indiana was being held in the Fulton County Jail on $15,000 bond. She was charged with three felony counts of reckless homicide, and a misdemeanor count of passing a school bus, with the stop arm extended, causing injury. Media reports indicated Shepherd posted bond Tuesday evening, Oct. 30
State police identified the three deceased children as Xzavier Ingle, 6, his twin brother, Mason Ingle, and their step-sister Alivia Stahl, 9. They all were pronounced dead at the scene. Maverik Lowe, 11, was not related to the other three children, contrary to original reports, and was airlifted to a hospital in Ft. Wayne with critical injuries. As of about 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Lowe was in surgery with multiple broken bones and internal injuries.
Sgt. Chris Kath, the school bus safety coordinator with the Indiana State Police, told attendees at the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Annual Conference Tuesday morning, that the incident occurred on rural State Road 25 in rural Fulton County, located about 45 miles south of South Bend. The two-lane road ran outside of a small neighborhood, which state police later clarified was a mobile home park.
State police said a preliminary crash investigation revealed that Robert Reid, 46, was driving a 2015 Thomas Built school bus for Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation. Reid stopped the school bus in front of the mobile home park and activated the bus stop arm, plus exterior lighting, as he was picking up children from the west side of the road. As the children crossed the road to climb onto the bus, Shepherd allegedly was driving a 2017 Toyota Tacoma in the opposite direction of the bus and struck the four children.
Kath also told NASDPTS attendees that both the school bus driver and Shepherd remained at the scene and had submitted to blood draws. There are no further details on any signaling from the bus driver, what were the actual weather and light conditions, or if either driver was speeding.
State police said they arrested Shepherd at 4:09 p.m. local time at her work.
Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation said via its Facebook page that it had deployed all school counselors to meet the emotional needs of staff, students and parents.
“We are awaiting to learn more confirmed details but wish to ask the community to come together to pray for the families, our students and our staff,” the school district announced.
Editor’s Note: Ryan Gray contributed to this report.
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