Just before a truck ran into kids waiting at a bus stop in Rochester, Indiana, a 9-year-old shielded her twin brothers, police say.
Now, authorities have identified the three siblings and the alleged driver.
Alivia Stahl, along with 6-year-old twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle, died Tuesday morning after police say 24-year-old Alyssa Shepard tried to pass around a school bus with its stop arm out — and ended up hitting four children with her car, according to ABC13. The fourth child, who is 11, survived and was airlifted to a nearby hospital for broken bones he suffered during the crash.
The 11-year-old was identified as Maverik Lowe, according to The News and Tribune. A GoFundMe page for the boy says he was thrown 30 feet in the crash, and that he “may never walk again.”
“He suffered broken ribs, busted knee cap, fractures in his arm and wrist,” it reads. “His leg is in pins and rods holding it together. He had plastic surgery already to put his face back together. He has slipped disks in his spine by his neck. He is a very, very strong kid.”
Shepherd was arrested at 4 p.m. Tuesday at a church she works at, police say, according to Fox59. She was charged with a misdemeanor charge of passing a school bus causing injury and three felony counts of reckless homicide, the outlet reported.
She’s being held at Fulton County Jail on $15,000 bond, police said.
Indiana State Police first tweeted Tuesday morning that a vehicle hit and killed three children waiting at a school bus stop in Fulton County, Indiana. The three siblings killed were heading to Mentone Elementary School, while the 11-year-old was going to Tippecanoe Valley Middle School, state police said.
Elgin Ingle — uncle to the three children, who were pronounced dead on the scene — said the loss has been hard for his brother, according to Fox59.
“He didn’t lose one kid, he lost all of his kids,” Ingle told Fox59. “What do you tell your little brother, how do you tell your little brother it’s gonna get better? You can’t.”
Tony Slocum said it’s rare to see authorities crying at a crime scene — but it happened Tuesday morning.
“I haven’t seen first responders and troopers cry in a long time,” Slocum, a sergeant with the Indiana State Police, told ABC7. “When the children’s father had to make identification of his children, that was just gut-wrenching. We saw tears today and our hearts just go out to them because most of us have children and we can’t imagine the pain that he felt today.”
According to NBC Chicago, Slocum said that the tragedy should serve as a wake-up call.
“I just can’t imagine the pain that family is going through,” he said, according to NBC Chicago. “The one thing I’d like to tell people — we all have a responsibility to share the road in a safe manner.
“I don’t know why this crash — why this person did not see the stop arm extended,” he continued, “but we all need to pay a little more attention because it’s all our responsibility to make sure our children get to and from school safely.”
He added that “we don’t want another family to have to go through this,” as reported by ABC7
“When those stop arms are extended, by law, you are required to stop,” Slocum told the outlet. “This is the exact reason why.”
But Ingle argued that this tragedy might have been preventable, WNDU16 reported, as there have long been concerns about the bus stop’s proximity to a busy road.
“This school has been warned, this has been an issue, we have said this before,” Ingle said, according to WNDU16. “They’ve made complaints, other parents. It’s not safe to walk a child across a highway, especially at that time because everyone’s going to work at that time.”
And Monika Manuszak, who lives near the bus stop, said two of her dogs have been hit by cars on the nearby road, according to The Indianapolis Star. She told the newspaper that “something has to change,” and pointed out one way that could make it safer.
“There’s no reason kids should have to die,” she told The Indianapolis Star, “because the speed limit is so high.”