INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A ceremonial bill signing Wednesday morning was met with real emotion.
The parents of three children who were killed at a bus stop last year joined Governor Eric Holcomb as he ceremonially signed sweeping school bus legislation.
“I didn’t want my children to die in vain,” said Brittany Ingle. “Today, it proves, they didn’t die in vain. My children are in the front, saving other kids’ lives.”
Three of Brittany and Shane Ingle’s young children were hit and killed last fall while crossing a highway to get to the school bus near Rochester.
Six-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, were killed Oct. 30, 2018 when a pickup truck struck them while they were crossing the street to get on the school bus.
In the weeks and months that followed the tragedy, the Ingles fought hard to change state law.
Wednesday, with the stroke of a pen, they won the fight.
“We thought that it’d be a long road, but in…surprisingly…7 months…we made it,” Shane Ingle said Wednesday. “This is what we set out to do.”
Governor Eric Holcomb called Wednesday morning’s ceremonial bill signing bittersweet.
“We have more work to do, and this is progress,” said Governor Eric Holcomb, (R) Indiana.
“They’ve taken their grief and this horrible thing and turned it into something that can benefit the families of children that they don’t even know,” added State Senator Randy Head, a Republican from Logansport.
The legislation was officially signed into law earlier this month. The bill will bring harsher penalties to drivers who pass a stopped school bus with lights flashing and stop arms out.
The first violation means a driver can lose their driver’s license for 90 days. Additionally, if someone dies, judges will have more leeway in sentencing.
“Making sure people know that it’s completely unacceptable to pass a stopped school bus,” State Rep. Ethan Manning, a Republican from Denver, Indiana said Wednesday.
The new law also states students statewide can’t cross a state or federal highway to get on or off a school bus, unless it’s within the city or town limits, or there’s no other alternative.
“You shouldn’t be on the road if you don’t know when to stop for a school bus,” Shane Ingle said.
Brittany Ingle shared a message Wednesday to parents of children who will be on those school buses in a few months.
“Be cautious. Hug your kids every day. Tell them you love them. Just don’t take life for granted. It’s short and enjoy it.”
The new law goes into effect July 1.