Families of children killed, injured boarding bus got $3.5M
ROCHESTER, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana school district paid nearly $3.5 million to the families of three children who died and a fourth child who was seriously injured in 2018 when a pickup truck plowed into them as they crossed a rural highway to board a school bus.
The settlement with the Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. was signed in June 2019, less than seven months after the truck hit and killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and the girl’s 6-year-old twin half brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle, in Fulton County, the South Bend Tribune reported Wednesday.
A copy of the settlement recently obtained by the newspaper shows the district paid $2.575 million to the parents of the three deceased children, with about $1.24 million going to an estate created in the children’s names.
About $206,000 went to Alivia Stahl’s father, while the mother of all three deceased children, Brittany Ingle, and her husband Shane Ingle, received a little over $1.13 million.
The district also paid $900,000 to the family of Maverick Lowe, who was 11 when he was severely injured in the Oct. 30, 2018, crash, which occurred as he and the three others crossed two-lane State Road 25 in Rochester to board a school bus.
Representatives from the Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. provided a copy of the settlement after the South Bend Tribune submitted a records request, but did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment on the agreement.
The pickup truck’s driver, Alyssa Shepherd, was sentenced in 2019 to four years in prison after being convicted of three counts of reckless homicide, criminal recklessness and passing a school bus, causing injury.
However, she could be released as early as Dec. 20 due to Indiana’s jail time credits and her completion of a Bible study course while in prison.
Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs and the crash victims’ relatives have opposed Shepherd’s early release into a community transition program. A judge could rule on her release by the end of the month.
Shepherd told authorities she didn’t realize that she was approaching a stopped school bus, despite its activated stop arm and flashing lights.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in April 2020 that the school district was partially to blame for the deadly crash, finding that its inadequate safety assessment of school bus routes resulted in a prevalence of bus stops that required students to cross high-speed roadways.