(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR NEWS)
What we know about the Indiana bus stop crash, the children and the driver
The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate the crash that killed twin boys and their big sister as they were crossing a road to board their school bus in northern Indiana. Dwight Adams, [email protected]
Twin boys and their big sister died Tuesday when the driver of a pickup truck allegedly blew past their stopped school bus on a rural highway in northern Indiana.
Xzavier and Mason Ingle, both 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9, were struck while crossing the road to get on their bus. They died at the scene of the crash near 4600 North Ind. 25, north Rochester in Fulton County.
A fourth child, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne with life-threatening injuries.
Alyssa Shepherd, 24, of Rochester, was arrested and charged Tuesday with reckless homicide and other crimes, records show.
Bus stop crash: NTSB is investigating crash that killed 3 kids boarding school bus
School bus safety: Here’s when you should stop
Here’s what we know about this tragedy:
Who are the children
Twin brothers Xzavier and Mason, their sister Alivia Stahl and Maverik Lowe were students in the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation. Xzavier, Mason and Alivia attended Mentone Elementary School.
Maverik is a student at Tippecanoe Valley Middle School, police said. He was critically injured with multiple broken bones and underwent surgery Tuesday at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne.
Maverik suffered back injuries, broken legs, arms and a knee cap and “may never walk again,” his relative Jocelynne Lowe posted on a GoFundMe page.
“He is a very, very strong kid,” Lowe wrote. “Please pray for this family.”
Maverik’s parents issued a statement through the Indiana State Police on Wednesday, in which they thanked the community for their prayers and requested privacy.
What happened at the bus stop
The children left their neighborhood to board their school bus about 7:15 a.m. when they were struck by the southbound Toyota pickup, Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said.
The children were crossing the rural two-lane highway to catch their bus, which was stopped in the northbound lane with its lights flashing and “STOP” arm extended.
Police did not say how fast the pickup was traveling. The speed limit on that stretch of Ind. 25 is 55 mph.
Who is the pickup driver
Alyssa Shepherd works as children’s director at Faith Outreach, a Foursquare Gospel Church in Rochester. The Rev. Terry Baldwin, the church’s senior pastor, declined to answer specific questions Wednesday.
“Our hearts are broken for the families who have suffered such a tremendous loss,” Baldwin told IndyStar during a phone call. “We are fervently praying for everyone touched by this. We want you and your readers to pray with us.
“Also, please remember our community.”
What is the driver charged with
Shepherd was charged Tuesday with three counts of reckless homicide and a misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an signal arm is extended, court records show.
She was booked into the Fulton County Jail and released after posting $15,000 bond, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
Shepherd remained at the scene after the crash and cooperated with investigators. She was given a blood test as is standard in all fatal crashes, but police said they do not think alcohol or drugs were a factor.
ISP Superintendent Doug Carter talks about tragedy where three young siblings were killed, one child critical, when hit as crossing to get on bus Kelly Wilkinson, [email protected]
Ind. 25 was shut down for hours Tuesday as Indiana State Police accident investigators measured the impact sites, skid marks and collected evidence needed to reconstruct the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to Rochester on Wednesday to conduct its own investigation.
A state mourns
Gov. Eric Holcomb was among many who offered condolences Tuesday.
“Words cannot express the depth of sorrow Janet and I feel, which only pales in comparison to what family, friends, teachers, classmates and community are feeling right now,” Holcomb said in a statement.
“Today, and for many more to come, we mourn their loss. I ask Hoosiers around the state to join us by sending your deepest prayers for the strength needed to endure such a time.”
The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation in a statement Tuesday asked the community for prayers for families, students and staff.
“We have deployed all school counselors to meet the emotional needs of our staff, students and parents,” the statement said.
How to help
GoFundMe pages have been set up to help the families. The page benefiting the family of Xzavier, Mason, and Alivia raised more than $46,000 by mid-day Wednesday.
The campaign benefiting Maverik’s family raised more than $15,000 by about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Call IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at 317-444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @VicRyc.