rochester 3

Rochester, Indiana siblings, Xzavier and Mason Ingle, both 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9

(10-31-18) Yesterday’s tragic death of three Indiana children who were hit by a pick-up truck as the crossed the street to board their school bus has brought up school bus safety across the US.

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Yesterday morning at approximately 7:15 a.m., officers from the Indiana State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a single vehicle crash which resulted in the deaths of three elementary age children, and critical injuries to an 11 year-old boy.


The preliminary crash investigation revealed that Robert Reid, 46, Claypool, IN, was driving a 2015 Thomas school bus, northbound on State Road 25. Reid stopped the school bus in front of a mobile home park at 4684 North State Road 25. He activated the buses’ stop arm and exterior lighting, as he was picking up children from the westside of the road. As children crossed the road, to get on the bus, four children were allegedly hit by a southbound 2017 Toyota Tacoma, driven by Alyssa Shepherd, 24, rural Rochester, IN.

Three children, Xzavier Ingle, his twin brother, Mason Ingle, both six, and their sister, Alivia Stahl, nine, all died at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash. Maverik Lowe, 11, was flown, via Samaritan Helicopter, to Parkview Hospital in Ft. Wayne. At last check, he was in surgery with multiple broken bones and internal injuries.

The six year-old boys, and their sister, attended Mentone Elementary School. Lowe attended Tippecanoe Valley Middle School.  The school bus was from the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation.

Assisting at the crash scene were the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, the Rochester School Corporation, the Rochester and Mentone Fire Departments, Lutheran EMS, and the Fulton County Coroner’s Office.

Alyssa Shepherd

Yesterday, at approximately 4:09 p.m. an investigation by officers from the Indiana State Police resulted in the arrest of Alyssa L. Shepherd, 24, rural Rochester, IN. She was arrested at her place of employment, in Rochester, IN, when officers served her with a Fulton Superior Court arrest warrant. The warrant alleged three felony charges for reckless homicide and a misdemeanor count for passing a school bus, with the stop arm extended, causing injury. She was being held in the Fulton County Jail with a surety bond of $15,000.

In both Mercer and Auglaize counties numerous school children are picked up by area school buses, some on busy highways and other on smaller rural roadways.

An incident like this one in Indiana makes us all aware of issues for school bus safety. It also should be noted this is why schools delay during the year for fog ans severe winter weather conditions.

This incident happened in the early part of the morning  and visibility might have been issue.

Below are some items that the National Safety Council has issued about bus safety.

National Safety Council

It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children

70 percent of deaths related to school buses occur outside of the bus

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more school-age pedestrians have been killed during the hour before and after school than any other time of day

National Safety Council

Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children

If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop

The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus

Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks