INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — An Indiana woman convicted in a crash that killed three children crossing a highway to board a school bus has won part of an appeal of her conviction, but lost the primary argument.
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of Alyssa L. Shepherd.
A Fulton County jury convicted Shepherd of three counts of reckless homicide and other charges related to the October 2018 crash near Rochester that killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, and seriously injured a fourth child.
A judge sentenced her to four years in prison.
Afterward, Shepherd appealed the conviction, arguing that the state failed to prove that she acted recklessly. Her attorney also said the trial court abused its discretion in rejecting her proposed final instruction. Shepherd also appealed that the convictions for reckless driving and criminal recklessness violated double jeopardy prohibitions, and concluded that the trial court erred by ordering her driver’s license to be suspended for consecutive periods.
The appeals court ruled that sufficient evidence was introduced in Shepherd’s trial to support the verdict, and it found the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Shepherd’s proposed instruction.
The court did, though, rule that the misdemeanor criminal recklessness conviction violated common law double jeopardy principles, and it vacated that conviction.
The court could not determine if the trial court impermissibly imposed consecutive suspensions of Shepherd’s driving privileges based on the information it had. It ruled that Shepherd’s license suspensions are to be served concurrently instead of consecutively.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill applauded the appellate court’s decision in a statement.
“We understand that no court ruling will fully soothe the pain felt by those who loved these precious children, but we hope this decision assists in healing their aching hearts,” said Hill.
Shepherd is imprisoned at the Rockville Correctional Facility. Her earliest possible release date is September 2022.