Identical twin6-year-old brothers, Xavier and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister Alivia Stahl were killed in the incident on a rural road in Indiana. An 11-year-old boy, Maverik Lowe, was injured as well, suffering multiple broken bones.
According to ABC News, Sgt. Tony Slocum, the public information officer for the Indiana State Police stated that the driver of the truck, Alyssa Shepard, 24, taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and charged with three counts of reckless homicide, and one misdemeanor count of disregarding a stop sign and causing injury. Shepard was taken to the Fulton County Jail but was released Tuesday night on a $15,000 bond.
The incident occurred around 7:15 a.m. in Rochester, a city near Fort Wayne. The injured boy was taken to Parkway Hospital in Fort Wayne via helicopter and underwent surgery.
“Our hearts just break for the families involved here in this tragic situation, and our prayers obviously go out to them,” Slocum said. “It was a tough day to watch the emotions that these family members had to go through and a tough day for first responders. It’s been a while since I’ve seen first responders cry, but I saw some tears shed today because that’s what the situation dictated.”
The children were crossing a two-lane road from a mobile home park where they lived to get to their school bus when they were struck by a Toyota Tacoma truck police told ABC News. A preliminary investigation showed the yellow school bus was in the northbound lane of State Road 25 with its emergency lights flashing and its stop-sign arm out when the children were struck by the southbound truck Slocum reported to ABC.
Alyssa Shepard of Rochester stayed at the scene and has been cooperating with police.
The National Transportation Safety Board told ABC News that they have launched a “go-team” of investigators that will look into the crash. More than six federal investigators will arrive in Rochester today to find out the circumstances and just how the children were killed. The NTSB will zero in on how to keep children safe while embarking and disembarking a school bus.
All of the children attended Mentone Elementary school, Indiana, where young Alivia made the honor roll in January. Slocum told ABC News that Shepherd submitted to a blood test to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved. He said investigators interviewed her, but he declined to disclose what she said about the crash.
“We don’t know why this crash happened as we speak here right now,” Slocum said.
The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation posted a statement on Facebook after the incident.
“Our school corporation has suffered a tragedy this morning. We have learned of three student fatalities and one student seriously injured and airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital as they were hit by a vehicle while boarding their bus. We have deployed all school counselors to meet the emotional needs of our staff, students and parents,” the school wrote on Facebook. “We are awaiting to learn more confirmed details but wish to ask the community to come together to pray for the families, our students and our staff.”
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