INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It has been almost four months since four kids were hit by a truck while they were crossing the street to get on their school bus in Rochester, Indiana. Three of those children died and a fourth was injured but survived.
In October, police said 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd hit the kids when she didn’t stop for their bus. She has since been charged with reckless homicide.
Now, the parents of the children who were killed are working with state lawmakers in the hope that no other family will have to experience their pain.
“I don’t want to see another parent have to endure what Brittany, Shane and myself have endured,” said Michael Stahl, whose 9-year-old daughter Alivia was killed.
“We strive for change, and we strive to make a difference,” said Shane Ingle, “but for now though this is one step…in our healing process.”
Ingle’s 6-year-old sons, Mason and Xzavier, were also killed that morning.
With their pain still raw, Stahl and Ingle were urging lawmakers Wednesday morning to support Senate Bill 2, which ended up passing unanimously out of committee.
“To see everybody working together to try to make things safer for our children is amazing,” said Stahl.
If signed into law, the bill would increase penalties for drivers who don’t stop when school bus arms are extended. It would also let school districts reduce speed limits and would try to keep students from having to cross roads to get on a bus.
“We’ve had a lot of support for this bill,” said its author, State Senator Randy Head (R-Logansport). “I think a lot more people are going to want to get on it as co-authors and support the concept.”
Since the crash, none of the families have been the same.
“In just the matter of a blink of an eye their lives were changed forever, horribly,” said Michael Schwab, who was the grandfather of all three kids who died.
Their hope today is that no families come to know the pain they now live with.
“At one point in time we were all on those buses, and now we’re here,” said Stahl, “so now it’s our responsibility to make sure that our children and the future is safe.”
The bill will now go before the full Senate where amendments can be added before it’s voted on. No word yet on when that may occur.