ROCHESTER, Ind. — Police in Indiana charged a 24-year-old woman with reckless homicide after a crash at a school bus stop in Rochester left three children dead and one severely injured.
The children were crossing the street to get to their Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation bus around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday when they were struck by a 2017 Toyota Tacoma driven by Alyssa Shepherd, according to Indiana State Police. Police said that at the time of the crash, the school bus was stopped in front of a mobile home park with its stop arm down and lights flashing.
Three Mentone Elementary School students, identified as 6-year-old twins Xzavier Ingle and Mason Ingle and their sister Alivia Stahl, 9, died at the scene. A fourth child, identified as 11-year-old Tippecanoe Valley Middle School student Maverik Lowe, was airlifted to a hospital with multiple broken bones and internal injuries, police said. He was last listed in serious condition.
"It's everybody's responsibility to make sure our children get to and from school safely, and when it doesn't happen, which it did not in this case, it's heartbreaking," Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum told WSBT. "I haven't seen troopers cry in a long time, but I saw that today."
Xzavier, Mason and Alivia's uncle, Elgin Ingle, told WNDU that his family is grappling with the magnitude of their loss.
“(My brother) didn’t lose one kid. He lost all of his kids,” Ingle said. “What do you tell your little brother? How do you tell your little brother it's going to get better? You can't."
He described his nephews to WRTV as "shy at first" but, "Once you got past the shyness, the two boys were a life spark. They were nonstop, happy, go-fast, jumpy boys."
He said Alivia was a go-getter and "the kindest child you'll ever meet."
"My two nephews and my niece were taken from me because somebody didn't pay attention," Ingle told WRTV. "How could you look away from the road? Everybody knows buses stop at this time of day."
Authorities charged Shepherd with three counts of reckless homicide and one count of passing a school bus with the stop arm extended, causing injury. She was booked into Fulton County Jail Tuesday.
Police continue to investigate.
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