Opening statements underway in trial for woman accused in bus stop killing

Local

ROCHESTER, Ind. (WISH) — A Fulton County jury will hear opening statements Wednesday in the criminal recklessness case of Alyssa Shepherd.

On Oct. 30, 2018, a pickup driven by Alyssa Shepherd struck four children at 7:15 a.m. on South State Road 25 near Rochester, according to Indiana State Police. State Police report the school bus had its lights flashing and stop arm extended.

Shepherd told a detective she saw something with lights in front of her but didn’t recognize it as a school bus, according to a court recording.

Three of the children were siblings: twin 6-year-olds Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and 9-year-old Alivia Stahl. The fourth child was 11-year-old Maverik Lowe. The three siblings died and Lowe was airlifted to a hospital in Fort Wayne, according to state troopers.

Almost one year later, Lowe is still in physical rehabilitation and the siblings’ mother, Brittany Ingle, has become an advocate for harsher penalties for school bus stop arm violators. In May, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a school bus safety bill into law.

Shepherd was 24-years-old at the time of the accident. State police report she stayed on scene after the crash, but was released and later arrested at work around 4 p.m.. Shepherd bonded out of the Fulton County jail hours later.

She is charged with three counts of reckless homicide, one count of criminal recklessness, and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an arm signal device is extended.

Jury selection concluded Tuesday with six female and six male jurors. Several family members of the victims were present at the hearings and some were unable to enter the courtroom due to overcrowding.

“We were shut out today,” said Michael Schwab, grandfather to the three siblings. “And that was part of our frustration ironically enough. It’s been a source of my frustration for a while now.”

Family members said they’ve known this day was coming.

“You’re picking the scab off and now you’re going to relive [it],” said Schwab, “There’s going to be the photos, there’s going to be the forensics, the testimony, some things we maybe knew, some things, we may not have known. But we’re going to relive it all.”

“You can’t do do-overs,” said Al Putman, who lives in Rochester. “A little act of carelessness can be so costly and not only to you but everybody involved. It’s a tragic situation.”

The judge in the case has issued a gag order, meaning those involved in the case cannot speak publicly about the proceedings. The courtroom is still open to the public and media.

News 8 will provide updates on this case as they become available.

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