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Police Say 9-Year-Old Killed In Bus Stop Accident Died Protecting Her Brothers

Ingle Family

Authorities in Indiana say a nine-year-old girl struck and killed in a traffic accident Tuesday was trying to shield her younger brothers from the pickup truck that crashed into them.

State police say Alivia Stahl and her younger brothers were crossing a rural highway in Fulton County to catch their school bus that morning, as it was parked on the opposite side of the road with its arm extended and lights flashing.

The driver in the pickup truck struck the three siblings, who died at the scene, as well as a fourth student, an 11-year-old who was seriously injured and airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Indiana Bus Stop Accident
The truck driver was not injured, but three children died and one was seriously injured during the crash.Sean Lewis - Twitter

Police have charged the driver, Alyssa Shepherd, 24, with three charges of reckless homicide, as well as with passing a school bus with its arm extended.

ABC News reports that Shepherd allegedly told investigators she saw flashing lights, but did not realize they were from a school bus until it was too late to stop.

"She held their hand to the school bus and onto the bus every day."

Elgin Ingle, the Stahl's uncle, told local news station WRTV that Stahl died trying to protect her six-year-old twin brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle.

Ingle siblings
Nine-year-old Alivia was described as a "mother hen" to her brothers Xzavier and Mason.Elgin Ingle

"She held their hand to the school bus and onto the bus every day," he remembered.

"She was holding their hand when they were hit and it looks like she tried to shield them a little bit."

"To her I say, way to be a badass, man," he added. "She had a split second to think of what to do, and she chose to shield her brothers with that split second."

Ingle also described the stunned response of the children's mother when she arrived at the scene of the accident.

"How do you decide which child to run to when all of your kids are laid out on the highway?" he asked.

"I haven't seen first responders and troopers cry in a long time."

Indiana bus stop accident
The truck driver allegedly told police she saw flashing lights before the accident.Elgin Ingle

Elgin admitted he was facing his own tough questions in the wake of the tragedy.

"What do you tell your little brother when he's just lost three of his children to someone's negligence?"

Even investigators admitted they were deeply moved by the accident.

Tony Slocum, an Indiana State Police sergeant, said this was a rare case where authorities could be seen crying at a crime scene.

"I haven't seen first responders and troopers cry in a long time," he told ABC 7.

"When the children's father had to make identification of his children, that was just gut-wrenching. We saw tears today and our hearts just go out to them because most of us have children and we can't imagine the pain that he felt today."

"My two nephews and my niece were taken from me because somebody didn't pay attention."

Indiana Bus Stop Accident
Ingle criticized the driver who struck the children for "not paying attention."Elgin Ingle

Ingle remembered all three children as shy, but bright and friendly with close family.

"The two boys were a life spark," he said. "They were nonstop happy, jump high, go fast boys."

Meanwhile, he said that Alivia was "what you want in a child."

"She sets a goal, she goes and gets it. She's helpful. She's attentive to other people's needs."

Ingle also shared a serious warning for drivers: "Pay attention. It's not your kids you're going to kill when you look down."

"My two nephews and my niece were taken from me because somebody didn't pay attention."

The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation also announced Wednesday they would be changing the location of the school bus stop where the children were killed, and planning a safety review for other bus stops in the district.

Ingle said parents from a nearby mobile home park had already complained about the bus route, which forced children to cross a rural highway where cards traveled up to 60 miles per hour to get on the bus.

[H/T: WRTV, Miami Herald, ABC News]

Rest in peace Alivia, Xzavier, and Mason.

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