ROCHESTER, Ind. (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that in light of the coronavirus pandemic it has canceled an April meeting to determine the probable cause of a 2018 crash that killed three siblings crossing a rural northern Indiana highway to reach their stopped school bus.
The federal agency said that in place of the April 7 meeting in Washington, D.C., NTSB board members will use an online link to vote on the staff’s investigative report, which contains the crash’s probable cause, findings and safety recommendations.
“NTSB puts safety first, and we believe that, during this stage of the pandemic, this approach to social distancing protects our staff and the public,” said NTSB Managing Director Sharon Bryson.
The date of the board’s online vote has not been scheduled, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.
The Oct. 30, 2018, crash involving a pickup truck on two-lane Indiana 25 in Rochester, Indiana, killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl. A fourth child, Maverik Lowe, 11, suffered critical injuries.
Alyssa Shepherd, 25, of Rochester was convicted in October of reckless homicide, criminal recklessness and passing a school bus, causing injury. She was sentenced to four years in prison, though she is appealing her convictions.
Authorities have said the students were waiting for the bus on the opposite side of the road. The school bus’ red warning lights were active, and its stop arm was extended. After being signaled by the driver to cross, the four students entered the roadway and were struck by Shepherd’s truck.
At the time of her arrest, Shepherd told authorities she didn’t realize that she was approaching a stopped school bus, despite the activated stop arm and flashing lights. Court documents show Shepherd told police she saw the lights but didn’t recognize the vehicle as a school bus until the children were right in front of her.