An Indiana woman was sentenced to prison on Wednesday after she killed three siblings who were trying to board a school bus last year — and the kids' grief-stricken mother lunged at the woman in court.
Alyssa Shepherd, 25, was sentenced to four years in prison, three years of house arrest and three years of probation after she killed the children — Xzavier and Mason Ingle, 6-year-old twin brothers, and Alivia Stahl, their 9-year-old sister — on Oct. 31, 2018.
As the children were crossing State Road 25, a two-lane highway in Rochester, to board the school bus, Shepherd plowed into them.
She said in court earlier this year she remembered seeing blinking lights and a large vehicle, but didn't realize the vehicle was a bus and didn't see the red stop sign on the side of the bus. Shepherd made the same claims during her arrest. She said she was hysterical and in disbelief afterward, and that she didn't see the children until they were right in front of her.
In addition to the three deaths, Maverik Lowe, 11, also was left in critical condition. Since the accident, he has undergone more than 20 surgeries.
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 up ahead there was a school bus with its warning lights on and stop arm extended.
In the Fulton County courtroom Wednesday, Shepherd was sentenced and her driver's license suspended for 10 years. The children's' mother, Brittany Ingle, lunged toward Shepherd during the sentencing and was escorted out in handcuffs then charged with misdemeanor battery.
The victim's family said they were disappointed in the sentencing, adding that Shepherd should've received the maximum sentence, which was 21.5 years in prison. Shepherd, who has two children of her own, apologized in court and said her "heart breaks for the families who feel the loss."
“If people are going to drive like that, they are going to jail or prison, to some extent, that’s been done in this case,” Marrs said Wednesday, according to WSBT. “But, you know, people need to understand you can’t just drive any way you want. You’ve got to be responsible. There’s laws against reckless behavior, and if you’re not going to follow it, you’re going to be prosecuted.”
The Indiana Legislature increased penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses following the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.