Children getting hurt or — worse — dying leaves me with feelings of profound sadness. But while injuries or death resulting from a horrible illness or accident that couldn’t have easily been prevented are heart-shattering, those that result from utter negligence or stupidity leave me in complete shock and rage.
This story out of Rochester, Indiana is one perfect example. It left me in tears and thinking “this must simply never happen again.”
It was an ordinary school morning. But little did one family from Rochester, Indiana, know that this day would change the course of their lives forever.
9-year-old Alivia Stahl and her 6-year-old twin brothers Xavier and Mason Ingle were crossing the busy road near their home to catch their school bus, just like every school day morning. The bus stood on the other side of the road with its stop sign out and lights flashing.
But one driver, 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd, seemed to miss it — and zoomed right into the three children with her pickup truck, striking and killing them all.
The Stahl family saw itself shrink by three in a devastating split second.
A fourth child, 11, was also struck but survived the terrifying accident.
As horrified neighbors ran to the scene of the accident, it emerged that Alivia had been holding her brothers’ hands and tried to shield them as they were hit.
“She was holding their hand when they were hit,” Alivia’s uncle Elgin Ingle said. “So to her I’d say “way to be a bad ass man.’ She had a split second to think of what to do and she chose to shield her brothers with that split second.”
While the family and whole community is in shock over this tragic event, the driver has been released on a $15,000 bond after being arrested for three counts of reckless homicide.
More — much more — has to be done to prevent such tragic and horrifying accidents.
Figures show that over 84,000 drivers ignore school bus stops on similar busy roads across the nation — every single day.
This is completely unacceptable. If you think about it, all this means is more potential, tragic accidents. Drivers must be better educated about the dangers of passing school buses.
In addition, many bus stops across the nation are on busy roads where the speed limit is simply too high.
“There’s plenty of room for a school bus to pull in and pick up these kids instead of asking them to walk across the highway where people are doing 50-60 miles an hour,” Elgin the uncle said.
The busy road and bus stop where the children were killed had in fact previously been questioned for its safety. Finally, following this incident, the stop has been moved to a safer area. But why did it have to take the death of three angels for this to happen?
While brave, big sisters like Alivia can try do their part, we are the adults and we must do ours — now.
Watch a news report of the horrifying accident below.
Please do your part and share this tragic story to spread awareness about the extreme importance of being cautious when children wait for their school bus. Don’t be afraid to question the safety of a bus stop in your community! We simply must not hear of more horrifying accidents like this again.