In a tragic incident Tuesday morning, three siblings were killed and a fourth child suffered life-threatening injuries when they were hit by a pickup truck while trying to board a school bus.
Around 7 a.m., the four kids were on the opposite side of a rural road in Rochester, Indiana, and tried to cross the two-lane road from the mobile home park where they lived. While heading to the bus, they were struck by a southbound 2017 Toyota Tacoma truck. ABC News reports that a preliminary investigation showed the northbound school bus had its emergency lights flashing, as well as its stop-sign arm extended.
The three siblings killed were identical twin brothers, 6-year-old Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl. A fourth child unrelated to the siblings, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was seriously injured. The boy suffered multiple broken bones and was airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital. He remains in critical condition.
There were other kids at the bus stop, but none on the bus at the time of the incident.
“It’s a very delicate situation. Just a very, very sad situation. There are young children who might have witnessed a very catastrophic event," Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum told reporters in a South Bend Tribune video. "It’s a very hard scene. I haven’t seen troopers cry in a long time. The father had to come out and identify his children; it was excruciating. All my heart goes out to this family, to everyone involved."
The driver of the truck, 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd, stayed at the scene and has been cooperating with police. According to a press release from Indiana State Police, Shepherd was arrested at her place of employment on Tuesday afternoon and charged with three counts of reckless homicide, and one misdemeanor count of disregarding a stop sign and causing injury. She was held in Fulton County Jail and released Tuesday night on a $15,000 bond.
The local school district, Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, released a statement on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
"Our school corporation has suffered a tragedy this morning," it read, including a summary of the incident. "We have deployed all school counselors to meet the emotional needs of our staff, students and parents. 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."