ROCHESTER, Ind. – The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a woman convicted of killing three siblings at a Rochester bus stop in 2018.
Alyssa Shepherd was convicted of reckless homicide, criminal recklessness and passing a school bus causing injury. Last year, a judge sentenced her to four years in prison, in addition to home detention and probation.
The crash on Oct. 30, 2018, killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and twin 6-year-old brothers Mason and Xzavier Ingle. A fourth child, Maverick Lowe, was seriously injured but survived.
Lawyers for Shepherd filed an appeal arguing the state failed to present evidence that she acted recklessly.
She claimed she made an error in judgment, thinking the bright lights ahead of her were an oversized load, which was negligent on her part.
Her attorneys argued that Indiana doesn’t criminalize negligence and claim the state didn’t clarify the difference between recklessness and negligence to the jury.
The appellate court rejected the arguments.
“We understand that no court ruling will fully soothe the pain felt by those who loved these precious children, but we hope this decision assists in healing their aching hearts,” said Attorney General Hill.
The appellate court did vacate Shepherd’s misdemeanor reckless driving conviction after it found that it was duplicative of her felony criminal recklessness conviction, which the state conceded. Officials say this will not impact her 10-year aggregate sentence.
The court also remanded an issue regarding the suspension of Shepherd’s driver’s license back to the trial court.