What to Know
- Authorities said the children were at the bus stop and the stop-arm on the bus was out when a pickup truck hit them.
- An 11-year-old boy was also injured in the crash and airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne.
- A 24-year-old woman has been charged in the deaths of the three children.
Even until the very end, 9-year-old Alivia Stahl was a constant protector of her younger twin brothers.
The hero big sister, who was killed alongside her 6-year-old siblings when a car plowed into them as they boarded a school bus in Indiana Tuesday, died trying to save their lives, her family said.
"Parents are destroyed. They're never going to see their kids again," said Elgin Ingle, the uncle of the three children. "The surviving daughter has no siblings anymore and mother had to run to the aid of children as they lay there lifeless on the concrete. They're doing as bad as you'd expect a parent to be doing."
Elgin Ingle said it appeared his niece was trying to shield Xavier and Mason Ingle when the three were struck and killed.
“Alivia was like a mother to the two kids,” Elgin Ingle said.
It was a crash state police said was unlike any other they'd seen.
A 24-year-old woman has been charged in the deaths of the three children. Alyssa Shepherd was charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one count of passing a school bus and resulting in bodily injury.
She was reportedly cooperative with police, picked up at her place of employment and later released on $15,000 bond. It was unclear if she had an attorney.
The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. in Fulton County near 4600 N. State Road 25, according to Indiana State Police.
Authorities said the children were at the bus stop on the west side of the road and the stop-arm on the bus was out when a pickup truck hit and killed the kids.
An 11-year-old boy was also injured in the crash and airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne where his condition was not immediately known.
"I just can't imagine the pain that family is going through," Sgt. Tony Slocum with the Indiana State Police's Peru District. "The one thing I'd like to tell people - we all have a responsibility to share the road in a safe manner. I don't know why this crash - why this person did not see the stop arm extended but we all need to pay a little more attention because it's all our responsibility to make sure our children get to and from school safely."
There were no children on the school bus at the time of the crash.
Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation said all four children struck were students.
"Our school corporation has suffered a tragedy this morning," the group said in a statement. "We have learned of three student fatalities and one student seriously injured and airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital as they were hit by a vehicle while boarding their bus. 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."
One witness said her grandchildren were supposed to be at the bus stop as well but a last-minute change of plans kept them from being at the scene.
"I knew something bad happened," she said.
The accident happened near Rochester, about 92 miles southeast of downtown Chicago.