“It looks almost as if she tried to shield them," says the uncle of three children who died at a Fulton County bus stop. “She saw what was happening and tried to shield them. For a 9-year-old girl, that’s pretty amazing.”
A tragedy is hitting close to home and making headlines across the country tonight.
"I don’t know what to tell them," said Jackie Bradley, guardian to children who attended Mentone Elementary with the three. "They’ve lost their friends. Their kids. It’s not right.”
The three kids and another child -- who is now in stable condition at the hospital -- were hit by a truck while crossing a state highway to get onto their school bus.
The accident killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister Alivia Stahl.
11-year-old Maverik Lowe is in a Fort Wayne hospital. His mother posted on Facebook that he has undergone three surgeries but is doing well tonight.
We have team coverage of this heartbreaking story, beginning with the latest on the investigation.
24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd has bonded out of jail tonight.
She faces three felony counts of reckless homicide and a misdemeanor charge of passing a school bus with the stop arm extended, causing injury.
“It’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure our children get to and from school safely and when it doesn’t happen, which it did not in this case, it’s heartbreaking,” said Sgt. Tony Slocum, Indiana State Police.
Police say Shepherd hit the four students with her pickup truck as they were crossing the road.
She was heading in the opposite direction of the school bus. Investigators tell us the bus did have its lights on and stop arm extended.
“The father confirmed that the three were his children,” said Slocum. “I just can’t imagine that pain. I haven’t seen troopers cry in a long time, but I saw that today.”
The rest of the state is mourning along with this small community.
“Part of us died today too,” said Superintendent Doug Carter, Indiana State Police. “Just like you guys and gals, we’re all human beings right? We do things like this by choice, it’s are chosen professionbut it doesn’t mean that we don’t cry and we don’t hurt.”
Shepherd will appear in court on November 13.
The uncle of the children who died says the family is trying to come to terms with what happened.
Elgin Ingle say his niece and nephews were happy and sometimes shy kids. He says they were their parents' entire world.
Ingle was still in bed this morning when he got an urgent phone call from his sister.
"My sister said that my brother’s two boys and his daughter had been hit by a car on their way to the bus,” said Ingle.
He and several other family members raced to his brother's home, but by the time he got there, it was too late.
“The worst part about this, being an uncle and a brother, is there’s nothing I can say to my brother to make him feel better,” said Ingle. “I can’t take this away and I never will.”
His nephews Xavier and Mason were typical boys.
“They liked to go fast and monster trucks,” said Ingle. “They’re all around two of the best kids that I’ve ever known in my life. They are great kids.”
His niece Alivia was a like a mother to her two younger brothers.
“She literally held their hand everywhere they went, she held their hand on the way to the bus stop every morning, held their hand across the street,” said Ingle. “Alivia was best friends with her brothers.”
This morning was no different.
Elgin says she was walking her brothers to the bus when the truck came out of nowhere. He says from the looks of the scene, Alivia tried to save her brothers’ lives.
He has a message for Alyssa Shepherd, the woman who police say struck and killed his niece and nephews.
“Three children who had a great future, smart kids -- that’s over now because you didn’t pay attention,” said Ingle. “I hope you take that with you to your grave.”
The family told us they have no funeral plans at the moment.
State leaders are sending their condolences:
Governor Eric Holcomb released a statement:
"Words cannot express the depth of sorrow Janet and I feel, which only pales in comparison to what family, friends, teachers, classmates, and the community are feeling right now. Today, and for many more to come, we mourn their loss."
Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly said:
"Devastated to hear about the horrible news in Fulton County this morning. My prayers are with the entire Rochester and Fulton County communities who have lost three children with the fourth in critical condition."
INDOT also sending this reminder about driving safely around school buses:
Remember you have to stop when a school bus stops, unless you are on a divided highway and going the opposite direction of a bus.
Make sure to stay with WSBT 22 as we follow the very latest in this investigation.
Go Fund Me:
A spokesperson for Go Fund Me has confirmed that this is the official fundraiser for the three children who were killed yesterday: https://bit.ly/2Jsikyd
Thy also confirmed that this is the official fundraising page for Maverik Lowe who survived and is recovering in a Fort Wayne hospital: https://bit.ly/2RujXOJ
Both campaigns are trending and have raised thousands of dollars for both families impacted by this tragedy.