An Indiana woman was convicted Friday of reckless homicide for plowing her pickup truck into four children, killing three of them as they crossed a two-lane highway to board their school bus. The Fulton County jury also found Alyssa Shepherd, 24, guilty of criminal recklessness in the Oct. 30, 2018, crash that killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, per the AP. Maverik Lowe, 11, was critically injured. Shepherd could face up to 21 1/2 years in prison at sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 18. At the time of her arrest, Shepherd told authorities she didn't realize she was approaching a stopped school bus, despite the activated stop arm and flashing lights. Court documents show Shepherd told police she saw the lights but didn't recognize the vehicle as a school bus until the children were right in front of her.
Under questioning on the witness stand by defense attorney Michael Tuszynski, Shepherd said she remembered seeing blinking lights and something that seemed to be a large vehicle. But she said she didn't see a bus or see the red sign telling her to stop. "The only way I can describe it is an out-of-body experience," Shepherd said. "I was a mess." Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs said the bus stop had been in place for 50 years without a child being killed. "The thing that makes me sick here is that this never should have happened," he said. Tuszynski argued Shepherd's actions didn't meet the definition of reckless, because she would have had to have known it was a stopped bus with children boarding and just didn't care and kept driving. The crash led to statewide changes, spurring the Legislature to increase penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
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