An Indiana woman was found guilty Friday of reckless homicide after plowing her pickup truck into four children, killing three, as they crossed a two-lane highway to board a school bus.
Alyssa Shepherd, 24, was convicted of criminal recklessness for an Oct. 30, 2018, crash in which she claimed not to be aware she was passing a school bus and crashed into the children, killing twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, 6, and their 9-year-old sister Alivia Stahl. Maverik Lowe, 11, was critically injured. Shepherd will be sentenced Dec. 18 and could face more than 20 years in prison.
Shepherd told the courtroom she remembered seeing blinking lights and a large vehicle, but did not realize the vehicle was a bus and did not see the red stop sign on the side of the bus, reiterating claims she had made at the time of her arrest. She described emotions including disbelief and hysteria upon realizing she had hit the children.
"The only way I can describe it is an out-of-body experience," Shepherd said. "I was a mess."
Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs said the bus stop had been in place for 50 years and no child had been killed there before. Marrs also mentioned the testimony of the driver behind Shepherd who said she could tell a school bus with its warning lights on and stop arm extended was up ahead.
"The thing that makes me sick here is that this never should have happened," Marrs said.
The crash led to statewide changes in traffic laws for which the three victims’ families heavily advocated. A bill that Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law July 1 extended penalties of up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for passing a school bus with a stop arm out.
“I don’t want to see another parent have to endure what Brittany, Shane and myself have endured,” Michael Stahl, whose 9-year-old daughter Alivia was killed, told Fox 59 of Indianapolis in February.