Alyssa Shepherd will be spending the next four years in jail after she ran over and killed three children at an Indiana bus stop. The bus had its lights flashing and the “STOP” sign arm extended when Shepherd mowed down nine-year-old Alivia Stahl and her six-year-old twin half-brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle. Shepherd’s defense was that she didn’t recognize that it was a school bus ahead of her. The crash occurred in October 2018. Shepherd was tried and convicted in Fall of 2019 (via Indy Star):
Alyssa Shepherd, who was found guilty in an October 2018 bus stop crash that killed three children and seriously injured a fourth, was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison, followed by three years on house arrest.
Her driver's license also was suspended for 10 years.
Shepherd, 25, struck and killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and the girl's 6-year-old twin half brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle. Shepherd did not stop for a waiting school bus on Indiana 25, just north of Rochester at the Meiser mobile home park, in the morning hours of Oct. 30, 2018. The bus driver had the vehicle’s stop arm and flashing lights activated as the children were crossing the road.
At trial, Shepherd testified on her own behalf, saying she saw flashing lights in the distance as she approached from the north. It was dark, she said, and she thought the vehicle that was stopped was a wide-load truck or possibly a tractor.
“I saw a vehicle. It was a very large vehicle. I couldn’t tell what it was,” she said. “It looked like it was moving toward me.”
It was dark, but witnesses said it was clear. The driver behind Shepherd said she could make out that kids and the bus were ahead of them. A delivery driver also said he didn’t see Shepherd slow down or hit the brakes (via WNDU, local NBC News affiliate):
Before the crash, bus driver Robert Reid told jurors the bus lights were on and the stop sign was extended. He waived all the kids over, and said it usually took them about a minute to cross State Road 25.
He said he could see the oncoming vehicle "in far distance."
A delivery driver behind the bus told jurors he saw everything. He said he saw the bus lights, the vehicle hitting the four children and the vehicle stop after the crash.
He said Shepherd walked up to him, asking, "What did I hit?"
He responded, "You just ran over kids. You probably killed them all."
Multiple witnesses told jurors it was dark but clear that morning. No witness said they saw Shepherd brake or slow down. The woman driving behind her said she did see the bus and the children.
Not seeing the lights or a yellow school bus? Please. It’s also the excuse offered to many who are pulled over by the police for failing to stop for a school bus. This isn’t a problem isolated to Indiana. Tens of thousands of cars fail to stop for a school bus—and police are now cracking down. This is a horrific story and one that could have been avoided if people just, you know—stop for a school bus when it has its lights flashing and the “STOP” arm extended. In Virginia, it’s reckless driving in which you’ll need to get a lawyer to avoid having a criminal record. In other states, it comes with a very heavy fine. The reasons are sound and fair. You can destroy families for failing to stop for a school bus. This should be a no-brainer, but apparently many need a refreshing in this part of driver’s education.