ROCHESTER, Ind. — The motorist who was convicted in a crash that killed three students and injured another as they were trying to board a school bus is appealing her conviction.
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, a judge sentenced Alyssa Shepherd, 25, in December to four years in prison for the Oct. 30, 2018, crash that killed 6-year-old twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle and their sister, 9-year-old Alivia Stahl, and seriously injured another student. She was convicted in October by a jury of three counts of reckless homicide, a felony count of criminal recklessness, and a misdemeanor count for passing a school bus and causing injury when the stop arm is extended.
A notice of appeal was filed on Jan. 17 with the Indiana Court of Appeals on behalf of Shepherd, according to WRTV. Stacy Uliana, the attorney representing Shepherd, said in an email to the news source on Tuesday that “we are appealing because although the accident is a heart-wrenching tragedy, we believe it is still just an accident and not a crime.” She also said that a brief outlining arguments in her client’s appeal will not be filed for months.
Shepherd, who was also sentenced to three years of house arrest, three years of probation, and a 10-year driver’s license suspension, reportedly told investigators during a probable cause hearing for the crash that she didn’t see the bus or the students until it was too late to stop. The bus apparently had its lights flashing and stop arm extended at the time.
Several legislative measures have been introduced as a result of the crash, including Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s school bus safety law that was signed in May to increase penalties for violating a stop arm. More recently, on Jan. 6, Sen. Ron Alting introduced a bill amendment that would let police seize the vehicle of a motorist who illegally passes a stopped school bus. The legislation followed an announcement of a special school bus stop safety patrol program’s results, which included 2,500 citations, of which 453 were for stop-arm violators.