ROCHESTER, Ind. (WANE) — The woman convicted of hitting and killing three children and critically injuring a fourth at a bus stop in Rochester last year was sentenced Wednesday.
Alyssa Shepherd was handed 4 years in prison to be followed by home detention and probation. This comes after a jury found her guilty of three counts of reckless homicide, one count of criminal recklessness, and one count of passing a school bus with the stop arm extended.
Siblings Alivia Stahl and her two brothers Mason and Xzavier Ingle died in the crash. A fourth child, Maverik Lowe, suffered critical injuries and has had more than 20 surgeries during his long road to recovery.
The four children were crossing a road in Rochester to get on their bus in October 2018, when Shepherd ignored the the stop arm and flashing lights and plowed into them with her truck.
The crash sparked an increased awareness of school bus stop arm violations across the state. It also led to the creation and passage of the MAX Strong law that enforces stricter punishments for violators.
Because Shepherd’s offense happened before the law went into effect this summer, she was sentenced under previous laws.
Shepherd had faced a maximum of up to 21 and a half years in prison.
In court Wednesday, a Rochester judge heard statements from Shepherd’s family and the family of the victims. At one point, Brittany Ingle, the mother of the three children killed, lunged at Shepherd in the courtroom.
She was charged with misdemeanor Battery for the incident.
The family of Alivia Stahl and the Ingle twins has been instrumental in pushing for and passing the MAX Strong law in their honor. Now they are hoping for justice in their own case.
“She did something very horrible and changed so many families’ lives, including ours and gave us a life sentence,” Brittany Ingle, mother of the three children killed, told our reporting partners at WSBT 22 in South Bend. “I’m really hoping that the judge is really going to take in the magnitude of what she did and there’s a proper punishment, so it’s just prayers for that.”