A judge has blocked the early prison release of a woman convicted in a 2018 crash that killed three siblings who were crossing a rural northern Indiana highway to board a school bus.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Greg Heller on Monday denied Alyssa Shepherd’s placement into a community transition program as early as next month after prosecutors and members of the victims’ families opposed the transition.
Shepherd was sentenced to four years in prison in 2019 after being convicted on three counts of reckless homicide in connection to the crash that killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and the girl’s 6-year-old twin half brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle.
Authorities said on Oct. 30, 2018, Shepherd was driving a pickup truck at around 7:30 a.m. when she struck four children who were crossing a two-lane road to board a Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. bus near Rochester, about 100 miles north of Indianapolis.
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Last September, in a unanimous decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals denied Shepherd's appeal. An appeal was filed in May 2020 arguing the state did not provide sufficient evidence that Shepherd was acting criminally reckless.
At the time of her arrest, Shepherd told authorities she didn’t realize that she was approaching a school bus, despite the activated stop arm and flashing lights. Court documents show Shepherd told police she saw the lights but didn’t recognize the vehicle as a school bus until the children were right in front of her.
The crash led to statewide changes, prompting the Legislature to increase penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.