2 years later: Mother of children killed in bus stop crash speaks out
FULTON COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - On October 30, 2018, four children were hit by a driver who ignored the school bus stop arm and flashing lights. Three siblings died; 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and her 6-year-old twin brothers, Mason and Xzavier Ingle. They were killed by Alyssa Shepherd who illegally passed their stopped school bus in Fulton County.
Shepherd is serving a four-year prison sentence. But for loved ones of those kids, they say they’re serving a life sentence of grief.
“I feel like it was still last week, to be honest,” admits Brittany.
And yet, it’s been two years since Brittany lost three of her four children.
“This is kind of the hardest time of the year,” said Brittany. “Because it’s where my life left off.”
But she picked up a new mission with MAXSTRONG, named for Mason, Alivia and Xzavier.
In 2019, MAXSTRONG school bus safety laws were passed in Indiana and the family endured the trial and sentencing for the driver who killed the children on that dark rural road.
The family no longer lives in the mobile home park along Highway 25 in Rochester. They moved shortly after the trial.
“My therapist told me, ‘You can’t heal where you are sick’,” said Brittany.
In her new home, there are pictures and tributes for the children. Another wall holds Alivia’s softball jersey. Selena’s room is nearby. The 13-year-old is in 8th grade now and while she started school online, she’s back in-person now.
“So much went wrong that morning. She had a doctor’s appointment and she’s still here. I think God knew I needed her,” said Brittany. “Because she keeps me going. She keeps pushing me. And so, does Snickers.”
Snickers is Brittany’s dog. There’s also Capri who belongs to Selena. They’re new to the family and have done wonders to help them heal.
“He’s just amazing. I think that anybody who struggles with depression or feels alone should adopt a dog,” said Brittany. “My husband thinks I’m crazy. I fell in love with him.”
Shane Ingle wasn’t available for an interview. Just a few weeks ago, Shane’s father passed away. His mom died a few months before the kids. “To lose both parents who gave you life and lose what you gave life in two years, that’s a lot,” said Brittany.
Brittany’s father helps maintain the MAXSTRONG website. Concerned parents often leave comments or concerns about the dangers of their bus stops.
“They bring it to our attention right away. That picked me back up again,” said Brittany. “You can’t give up you have to get up and let’s do this.”
She is also connected with mothers of other school bus tragedies.
“These women are truly incredible. Their children are beautiful. And we all have different stories, and we all have different ways of grieving.”
But they’re also ready to join forces to make change.
“We have to fight. I don’t want to see anymore body bags. I don’t want to see beautiful children’s pictures up there,” said Brittany. “We need to get vocal and fight. I can’t change what happened that morning, but I can try to prevent it from happening again.”
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