ROCHESTER — The Kosciusko and Fulton communities are gathering together after three children were killed and one was seriously injured while walking to their school bus yesterday, Oct. 30.
A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Mentone Youth League, 107 W. Jefferson St. Community members are urged to gather in honor of 6-year-old twin boys Xzavier Ingle and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, who lost their lives and to offer continued support for Maverik Lowe, 11. Lowe was flown, via Samaritan Helicopter, to Parkview Hospital in Ft. Wayne. At last check, he was in surgery with multiple broken bones and internal injuries. Donations for the families will be collected during the vigil.
Alyssa L. Shepherd, 24, Rochester, was identified as the driver who struck the children. She is currently being charged with three felony charges for reckless homicide and a misdemeanor count for passing a school bus, with the stop arm extended, causing injury. She was booked into the Fulton County Jail yesterday but has since bonded out. She has a preliminary court date of Nov. 13.
The preliminary crash investigation revealed that Robert Reid, 46, Claypool, was driving a 2015 Thomas school bus, northbound on SR 25. Reid stopped the school bus in front of a mobile home park at 4684 North SR 25. He activated the buses’ stop arm and exterior lighting, as he was picking up children from the west side of the road. As children crossed the road, to get on the bus, four children were allegedly hit by a southbound 2017 Toyota Tacoma, driven by Shepherd.
“Obviously, it’s a very delicate situation when you’re dealing with elementary-aged children,” said Sgt. Tony Slocum with the Indiana State Police. “It’s a very, very sad situation. This is a very hard scene. I haven’t seen troopers cry in a long time, but when the father had to come out and identify his children, it was excruciating.”
The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation released the following statement after the accident occurred. “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 our families, students and our staff.”