A Truck Fatally Hit Two Boys On The Highway, But A Girl Made A Split-Second Choice Before Impact

For a young child, there are few things more dangerous than crossing a busy road alone. This became tragically apparent in Rochester, Indiana, when six-year-old twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle were killed by a truck on their way to the school bus. However, before the vehicle hit them, their older sister made a split-second decision.

Residents of Rochester, Michael and Brittany Stahl were the proud parents of two young daughters named Selena and Alivia. Following their divorce, though, Brittany went on to have twins with her new partner, Shane Ingle, naming the boys Xzavier and Mason.

Brittany and Shane are residents of the local Meiser mobile home site, living there with the four children. The quartet were students at Mentone Elementary School, and the bus picked them up on State Route 25. However, the kids needed to cross the busy highway to reach the vehicle every day.

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On the morning of October 30, 2018, though, everything changed. Nine-year-old Alivia and her two younger brothers prepared to head off for the school bus. Their sister older, Selena, however, stayed at home ahead of a trip to the doctors. With that in mind, the trio crossed the road as per normal, looking forward to their day at school.

However, as they walked towards the bus, a Toyota pickup truck ran them down, with the driver failing to stop in time. Tragically, Alivia, Xzavier and Mason were all killed in the collision, while another child, Maverik Lowe, was left seriously injured.

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Following the crash, though, the children’s uncle, Elgin Ingle, made a heartbreaking observation. “[Alivia] held their hands [on the walk] to the school bus and onto the bus every day,” he told local station WRTV News in October 2018. “She was holding their hands when they were hit and it looks like she tried to shield them.”

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“[Alivia] had a split second to think of what to do,” Elgin added. “She chose to shield her brothers with that split second.” On that note, he then turned his attention to Shane, who was still home at the time of the accident. The father eventually identified his children to police officers after running to the scene.

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“[Shane] didn’t lose one kid,” Elgin told ABC News. “He lost all his kids. How do you tell your little brother it’ll get better? You can’t. My brother, the most loving man in the world and the best father I’ve ever known, now is a father to no one.”

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As the police began their investigation into the accident, Elgin had some kind words for his niece and nephews. “Once you got past the shyness, the two boys were a life spark,” he recalled to WRTV. “They were non-stop, happy, go-fast, jumpy boys. They were American boys, how they were supposed to be raised.”

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“Alivia, my niece, she was the kindest child you’ll ever meet,” Elgin continued. “There’s no stopping [her]. She sets a goal and she goes and gets it. She’s helpful. She is attentive to other people’s needs. She’s what you’d want in a child.”

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Meanwhile, it soon came to light that the residents living in the trailer park had raised the issue of the school bus route in the past. They had, in fact, sent a request to the local school corporation in an attempt to change the route, so youngsters wouldn’t have to cross that busy street.

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“This has been an issue before,” Elgin told ABC News. “The parents have made comments to the school about this changing. There’s plenty of room for the school bus to pull in [to the park] and pick up these kids. But this school has been warned that this is an issue.”

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Following the accident, though, the school corporation decided to act. Indeed, its superintendent, Blaine Conley, revealed that the school bus would now stop inside the trailer park, as opposed to on State Road 25. However, that wasn’t all, as Conley planned to assess the safety of the district’s other bus stops as well.

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As for the crash, Tony Slocum, a sergeant with the Indiana State Police, released some more details to the press. “The investigation has shown that a school bus was traveling northbound and stopped, put its stop-arm up and had all the emergency lighting on the bus activated,” he said.

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“The children then started to cross into the roadway and were struck by the southbound vehicle,” Slocum added. “The father had to come out and identify his children. It was excruciating.” Later that day, authorities revealed the identity of the Toyota driver to the public. Her name was Alyssa Shepherd.

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According to Shepherd, she didn’t realize that the lights ahead of her belonged to a school bus. By the time she did, though, Alivia, Xzavier and Mason were already crossing the street. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quick enough to stop the truck before the fatal collision.

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Authorities issued a warrant for Shepherd’s arrest. Her alleged crimes included three separate counts of reckless homicide, as well as disregarding a stop sign and causing injury. Arrested on the day of the accident, she was out on bail later that evening. However, Elgin couldn’t hide his anger when talking about the driver.

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“You’re supposed to get on your bus and be safe,” Elgin told ABC News. “What are you doing where you’re not paying attention at that time in the morning?” Despite that pain, though, the local community rallied around the family in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

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Indeed, later that day a friend of the Ingles set up a GoFundMe page, hoping to help the family as best they could. Incredibly, the page has earned over $150,000 in donations so far from online users, just shy of the $200,000 target.

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As for Maverik, the fourth child caught up in the accident, he’s still recovering in hospital from his injuries. While 11-year-old remains under doctors’ care, Shepherd’s court hearing is scheduled for November 2018, where she will answer the charges against her.

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