Year in Review 2018: Three students killed at bus stop in Fulton County
FULTON COUNTY, Ind. -- One of the most tragic stories of 2018 was the deadly bus crash in Fulton County on October 30.
Three kids were killed while trying to board their bus that morning, a fourth was severely injured.
The accused driver, 24 year-old Alyssa Shepherd, is facing three counts of reckless homicide charges.
The accident happened early on October 30 on State Road 25 when a bus from Tippecanoe Schools stopped to pick up four young students at their regular stop. The morning routine was shattered, when a pick-up truck slammed into them while they were attempting to board their bus.
Alivia Stahl, 9, and her twin brothers Mason and Xzavier Ingle, 6, were killed. Maverick Lowe, 11, was seriously injured and rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
In the hours after the tragedy, first responders, neighbors, friends and family trying to understand how this could happen.
"Part of us died today too, just like you guys and gals, we're all human beings right? we do this by choice, by profession, but that doesn't mean we don't cry, we don't hurt and we don't go home and wonder what we do with our lives and why we do what we do," said Doug Carter with Indiana State Police.
“This is just totally devastating to this community and school corporation I mean it's just unbelievable,” said neighbor, Cindy Renier.
Shepherd, the accused driver, was arrested later that day.
Investigators said Shepherd also had three kids in her vehicle when the crash happened.
ISP confirmed the bus stop arm was down but Shepherd told investigators she didn't realize it was school bus and simply didn't stop.
Neighbors say the area was already dangerous.
"The speed limit is too high for the area. The speed is too high and the curves are too short. The whole time we've been living here, since we've been living here, we've been saying finally something will happen," said, neighbor Monika Manuszak.
The day after the crash, Tippecanoe Schools made changes for the bus stop where the children died. It was moved inside the mobile home community, to prevent students from having to cross the street. The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation announced plans to research all bus stop locations to make sure all students are transported safely.
In the days after the tragedy, a growing memorial of teddy bears and balloons even Halloween candy grew along the curvy highway.
"We've lost three children, nobody should lose any child but especially losing three children," said Michael Stahl, Alivia Stahl's father.
In the weeks after the crash, a local Plymouth company anonymously donated a massive roadside memorial, dedicated to the children. Three crosses now mark the crash site, the company didn't want any credit.
Along with the memorial, there were auctions and donations gathered in honor of the victims, including a dinner held by the Winamac Fire Department.
"We wanted to help all the families out this is for all three of the families by doing this benefit," said Bill Weaver of the Winamac Fire Department.
Shepherd made her initial court appearance in November.
Alivia Stahl’s father spoke out about the public threats made against Shepherd, asking for people to trust our justice system.
"It doesn't do my daughter justice or other people affected by this. It only makes it worse," said Stahl.
"Hold faith in our justice system, they're going to do the right thing. I believe the right thing will come," he said.
The case will continue to work its way through the courts in the coming year. Shepherd’s next court date is February 5.
The fourth student, Maverick Lowe, is doing better on his road to recovery. He’s now recovering at home after spending several weeks in the hospital.