ROCHESTER, Ind. (WNDU, AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board says the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation is partially to blame for a 2018 crash that killed three siblings who were crossing a rural highway to reach their stopped school bus.
Alivia Stahl, Mason & Xzavier Ingle, and Alyssa Shepherd
The Oct. 30, 2018, crash involved a pickup truck driven by 25-year-old Alyssa Shepherd on the two-lane State Road 25 in Rochester.
The crash killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl. A fourth child, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, suffered critical injuries.
The NTSB said Tuesday that the crash was caused by Shepherd's failure to stop for the school bus, despite its activated and clearly visible warning lights and stop arm.
However, it says contributing to the crash was the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation’s inadequate safety assessment of school bus routes. That resulted in a prevalence of bus stops that required students to cross high-speed roadways to board a bus.
"With the NTSB's findings we already knew the corporation was at fault," the children's mother Brittany Ingle said, "I was in a battle with that corporation for years in speaking to the superintendent. I cannot figure out how any of it happened. I think that's the most frustrating part. There is really no real closure here."
Shepherd was convicted of reckless homicide and criminal recklessness, and she was sentenced to four years in prison. She's appealing her conviction.