An Indiana woman accused of striking and killing three siblings with her car as they were trying to board a school bus allegedly told police she had seen the flashing emergency lights prior to the crash but didn't know it was a school bus.
Alyssa Shepherd, 24, said by the time she realized it was a school bus, it was too late and she struck four children crossing the rural two-lane highway as they walked to get onto the bus, detectives said at her probable cause hearing, according to a recording obtained by ABC News. Six-old-year twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister Alivia Stahl were killed at the scene. A fourth child, Maverik Lowe, 11, suffered multiple broken bones and has been hospitalized in critical condition.
Shepherd had reportedly been on the way to her mother's house, and was carrying three children in the backseat of her pickup truck at the time of the crash, according to local station WSBT. She told police she had planned to drop her brother off at her mom's house and then get ready for her job as a children's director at the Faith Outreach Center in Rochester, Indiana.
Along the way, Shepherd, who allegedly said she didn't know how fast she was going at the time, came upon the yellow school bus that had its stop sign out and its emergency lights flashing.
"She came around that corner, she saw there was something with lights. She just knew there was something big and had lights. She did not recognize it immediately as a school bus. She said she was trying to figure out what it was," a detective said at the probable cause hearing.
Shepherd allegedly told authorities that by the time she realized it was a bus, "the kids were right there in front of her," the detective said.
However, the detective, who was identified by station RTV6 as State Police Detective Michelle Jumper, also testified that a witness driving right behind Shepherd said she had immediately been able to tell that the flashing lights belonged to the bus.
The recording of the probable cause hearing also revealed the role of the bus driver, Robert Reid. He allegedly told investigators he had seen a car coming from off in the distance but it was far away and he had no reason to think the driver wouldn't stop. Once he realized the driver wasn't slowing down, he honked his horn in a last minute attempt to avoid the fatal crash but it was too late, RTV6 reports.
Shepherd is now facing three counts of reckless homicide and one additional misdemeanor count for driving around a school bus that had its lights on and arm extended.
[Photo Credit: Indiana State Police]
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