INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NTSB has released its preliminary report on a crash that killed three siblings at their bus stop in Fulton County last fall.
Alivia Stahl, 9, and her 6-year-old twin brothers, Mason and Xzavier Ingle, died when a driver hit them while they crossed State Route 25 about 7:10 a.m. Oct. 30th. Another child was also injured. Investigators said the school bus’ stop arm was deployed and warning lights were on.
“The NTSB continues to gather information on the student transportation policies of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, the planning and development of bus routes, and the safety issues related to school bus loading and unloading of students on high speed roadways,” the report states.
The report doesn’t reveal new information about the crash, but did reveal the NTSB is looking at two more crashes in support of its investigation.
The first happened in Hartsfield, Georgia on Oct. 25. A 10-year-old was killed and a 7-year-old seriously injured. The second happened just a day after the crash in Fulton County. On Oct. 31 in Baldwyn, Mississippi a 9-year old was fatally injured. In all three cases, kids were crossing a road with a 55 mph posted speed limit, in the early morning hours, to a bus with warning lights on and the stop arm deployed.
“I’m heartbroken for all the families and children that this is happening to and I feel like that’s it’s even more important for us to speak out and do something” said Brittany Ingle, the mother of Alivia, Mason and Xzavier.
Since the crash, the children’s family has advocated for change to make sure no one else experiences their pain.
“Our children were our passion and they meant everything to us,” Ingle said.
They’re supporting a bill at the statehouse, called the MAX Strong Act, named for the kids’ initials.
“I see my daughter’s face, Alivia, in this MAX Strong because her personality was like the mother hen and always caring and compassionate and she would be saving everyone, wrapping her arms around everyone,” Ingle said.
It would allow schools to petition authorities to reduce speed limits around bus stops, compel districts to not have students cross state or federal highways to board a school bus unless there was no other alternative, raise the penalty for violating some school bus safety laws and allow schools to enter into agreements to install stop arm cameras.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 16 states have bus stop arm camera laws. Last month, the Ingles donated money to help the Rochester Community School Corporation install a bus stop arm camera.
Wednesday, the kids’ fathers and grandfather testified at the bill’s hearing in a Senate committee. It passed unanimously.
“What little bit of happiness you can take out of a tragedy knowing we’re saving others and you know our children are the front of it. I mean they’ll always be remembered,” Ingle said.
Next, the bill moves on to the state Senate.