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Jury deliberates fate of driver in Rochester bus stop crash

ROCHESTER, Ind. (WPTA21) – Jurors on Friday afternoon began deliberations in the case stemming from a 2018 school bus stop crash that killed three children.

Alyssa Shepherd, 24, was behind the wheel on Oct. 30 when the pickup truck she was driving slammed into twin 6-year-old boys and their 9-year-old sister, killing them. A fourth child was seriously injured and has since undergone 21 surgeries.

Shepherd has said she saw flashing lights early that morning but did not realize they came from a school bus until it was too late.

She’s charged with three counts of reckless homicide, one count of criminal recklessness and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus with its stop arm extended, causing bodily injury.

“If this behavior isn’t reckless, God help us all,” the prosecuting attorney told jurors as the case wound down.

Shepherd’s attorney said the state is trying to criminalize what was an accident. He said the evidence showed her judgment was poor, but that she was no more responsible than the school corporation that put a bus stop in the middle of a highway that kids had to cross.

There was some testimony in the trial suggesting that Shepherd seemed unemotional and uncaring about the fact she had hit the children.

Jurors watched a video recording of a statement Shepherd gave to Indiana State Police.

Her husband and a good friend testified Friday that she was screaming and hysterical after the incident, Shepherd herself testified at the scene and afterwards she felt like she was having an out-of-body experience.

The jury got the case at 3:30 p.m. and there was no indication of how long deliberations might last.

 

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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