An Indiana woman has been convicted of reckless homicide for killing three children — and injuring another — when driving past a stopped school bus, The Indianapolis Star reports. Alyssa Shepherd faces nearly 100 years in prison if she is given the maximum sentence on all counts.
Early on the morning of October 30, 2018, Shepherd was driving with her three children along a rural stretch of road outside of Rochester, Indiana. Meanwhile, three children — 6-year-old twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister Alivia Stahl — were crossing the highway to board a school bus. The bus was stopped, with its lights flashing and arm out.
However, Shepherd didn’t stop. She drove past the stopped bus, striking and killing the three children. A fourth child, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was struck and critically injured but survived. Lowe is still recovering from his injuries and has had over 20 surgeries, as of this writing.
As reported by The Inquisitr, the incident was one of several fatal accidents involving school buses that took place around the same time period.
During her trial, Shepherd said that it was dark. She continued to say that, although she saw the lights, she thought it was a stopped fire truck and not a school bus.
Jury is now deliberating in case against woman accused of hitting and killing 3 siblings at their school bus stop last year. If convicted, Alyssa Shepherd could spend more than 20 years in prison. pic.twitter.com/bgF4BllVti
— Kelly Reinke (@KellyReinkeTV) October 18, 2019
However, prosecutors brought out witnesses who testified that, while it was dark, Shepherd could have clearly seen the school bus was stopped.
Shepherd’s attorney, Michael Tuszynski, noted that her client had been traveling at approximately 45 mph prior to the crash, saw the blinking school bus lights and slowed down.
“Suddenly she sees the children. She brakes. But it was too late,” Tuszynski said.
This week, a jury determined that Shepherd did, in fact, kill the three children and injure the fourth based on her actions that day. She was convicted of three felony counts of reckless homicide, a felony count of criminal recklessness, and a misdemeanor count of passing a school bus causing injury when the arm is extended. If Shepherd receives the maximum sentence on each of the felony counts, she could face up to 21-and-a-half years in prison.
While Shepherd has been held criminally liable for the crash that day, Tuszynski says that the accident could have been prevented with better planning. He wondered aloud why the school district made the kids cross a busy highway to board their school bus, rather than simply having the bus enter the trailer park where the kids lived. Indeed, The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation announced after the crash that the bus stop would be moved into the neighborhood trailer park.