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Driver charged with killing three children at bus stop will face jury trial

NOW: Driver charged with killing three children at bus stop will face jury trial

ROCHESTER, Ind. ---The woman charged with hitting and killing three children and injuring one at their Fulton County bus stop last fall is still set for a jury trial on Oct. 15, just two weeks before the one year anniversary of the accident.

Today a pretrial hearing was held for Alyssa Shepherd, 24, who allegedly hit and killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl, her 6-year-old twin brothers Mason and Xzavier Ingle, and severely injured 11-year-old Maverik Lowe.

Shepherd was not present for the hearing but Fulton County Prosecutor Mike Marrs said she was not required to be for safety reasons.

The children were crossing Indiana 25 just outside of Rochester to get on their school bus the morning of Oct. 30 when they were struck. The bus’s flashing lights were on and its stop arm was out but court documents show Shepherd told police she did not recognize the vehicle as a school bus.

Shepherd faces three felony counts of reckless homicide, another count of criminal recklessness resulting in bodily injury, and a misdemeanor count of driving around a school bus with a stop arm extended for the accident.

Fulton County Prosecutor Mike Marrs said Wednesday that there is no indication a plea agreement will be reached in this case and although there’s been a lot of attention on the case, he still thinks a fair trial can happen in Fulton County.

“There has been some publicity both nationally and locally but we feel like we’ll be able to get a group of citizens that can be impartial to try the case in Fulton County,” Marrs said. “Family and everybody on both sides are looking for closure so hopefully we will get that the week of October 15 if not sooner.”

A final pretrial date for Shepherd was set for Sept. 10. There, Marrs said they will finalize the list of witnesses who will take the stand and what evidence will be used in court.

The attention this case has gotten has also pushed the family of Mason, Alivia and Xzavier to work with lawmakers to draft legislation requiring stronger bus stop safety laws in Indiana following the accident. On July 1, the MAX Strong law in memory of their three children went into effect.

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