FULTON COUNTY, Ind. — Twin boys and their big sister were killed and a fourth child was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries after an early Tuesday crash. The wreck happened as the children were getting on their school bus in northern Indiana.
Xzavier and Mason Ingle, both 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash near 4600 North Ind. 25 north of Rochester in Fulton County, according to Sgt. Tony Slocum of the Indiana State Police.
The fourth child, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne with life-threatening injuries.
Slocum said the crash happened around 7:15 a.m. when the children, all Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation students, were hit by a southbound Toyota pickup truck as they approached the school bus. The bus was stopped with its lights flashing and its "STOP" arm extended as the pickup truck drove through the area, police said.
The driver of the pickup truck, Alyssa Shepherd, 24, of Rochester, was arrested at her job just after 4 p.m., Indiana State Police said in a news release. She was charged with multiple felony counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury, court records show.
Shepherd was being held in the Fulton County Jail with a surety bond of $15,000, police said.
Shepherd remained at the scene after the crash and cooperated with investigators. She was given a blood test as is standard in all fatal crashes, but police said they do not think alcohol or drugs played a factor. The speed limit on this stretch of two-lane highway is 55 mph, slowing to 45 mph on curves.
There are curves just north and just south of the crash site.
Monika Manuszak lives on Ind. 25 south of where the children were struck. She said crashes happen too often. Vehicles have crashed into her yard, she said. Two of her dogs have been struck, she said.
“Something has to change," Manuszak said. "There’s no reason kids should have to die because the speed limit is so high.”
Police said Xzavier, Mason and Alivia all attended Mentone Elementary School.
The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation released a statement asking the community for prayers for families, students and staff. "We have deployed all school counselors to meet the emotional needs of our staff, students and parents," the statement said.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb also offered his condolences and urged everyone to support those impacted by the crash through prayer.