INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Tuesday’s tragedy in Rochester, Indiana is being felt all across central Indiana. Three children were killed and a fourth seriously injured when authorities say a driver drove around a school bus and hit those kids.
Police say the bus’ lights were flashing and its stop arm was extended. The driver, Alyssa Shepherd, has been charged with three felony counts of reckless homicide and a misdemeanor charge of passing a school bus causing injury
It is a stark reminder of the dangers that can happen around school buses. Right now, school buses have been back on the roads for a few months and police warn drivers can become complacent.
“Such a devastating crash that has such a rippling effect not just throughout that community, but throughout the entire state,” said Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine.
State police say all drivers have to stop for school buses, unless they’re on the opposite side of a roadway that is divided by some kind of physical median, like grass or concrete.
“Other than that, if you see a school bus with the red lights on and the stop arm out, everybody is required to stop,” said Perrine.
Just last week, a 16-year-old Decatur High School student was hit when a car drove around the school bus he was boarding. At the time, his mom had a warning for other drivers.
“You need to slow down,” said Danylle Nealy, that student’s mother. “There’s nothing worth taking my son’s life or another child’s life that’s worth getting to.”
Sadly, two sets of parents in Rochester don’t have the comfort of their children safe at home.
“It’s simple,” said Perrine, “if you see a school bus you have to anticipate it’s going to stop.”
This time of year, authorities say drivers can be complacent from buses being back on the roads with schools in session. That can cause a lack of attention that can be deadly.
“Raise your alertness, you know when the school buses are going to be out there,” said Perrine, “any time you see a school bus on the road, you need to anticipate that they’re likely going to stop and pick up children.”