Girl 'Shield[ed] Her Brothers' Before They Were Killed by Pickup Truck at School Bus Stop: Uncle
"She was holding their hand when they were hit," the victims' uncle said
In the final moments of her life, Alivia Stahl was looking out for her brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle.
The 9-year-old girl and the 6-year-old twin boys, who all attended Indiana’s Mentone Elementary School together, were fatally struck by a pickup truck while crossing the street to board their school bus in Rochester early Tuesday morning.
“She held their hand to the school bus and onto the bus every day. She was holding their hand when they were hit,” the three children’s uncle, Elgin Ingle, told local news outlet WRTV.
“It looks like she tried to shield them a little bit,” Elgin said. “She had a split second to think of what to do, she chose to shield her brothers with that split second.”
Elgin also described his niece Alivia as the “kindest child you’ll ever meet” who was “helpful” and “attentive to other people’s needs,” adding that there was “no stopping Alivia.”
“She sets a goal and she goes and gets it. She’s what you’d want in a child,” he said.
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Alivia, Xzavier and Mason “were struck by southbound 2017 Toyota Tacoma driven by a 24-year-old female,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum told reporters on Tuesday.
“The investigation has shown that a school bus was traveling northbound and stopped, put its stop-arm up and had all the emergency lighting that is on the bus activated. The children then started to cross into the roadway and they were struck by the southbound vehicle,” Slocum said, adding, “The father had to come out and identify his children, it was excruciating.”
A fourth child, an 11-year-old boy, was also struck and suffered multiple broken bones. He was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital in a medical helicopter and remains in critical condition.
Alyssa Shepherd, 24, was charged with reckless homicide, accused of fatally striking the three siblings with her truck. The Indiana woman was taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon.
PEOPLE confirmed she was charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of disregarding a stop sign and causing injury. According to court records, she was taken to the Fulton County Jail, and released Tuesday night on a $15,000 surety bond.
Shepherd allegedly never hit her brakes until it was too late, according to Elgin.
“The police said there were no brakes used. She never stopped once,” Elgin told ABC News. “What else could you have been doing? What are you doing where you’re not paying attention at that time in the morning?”
A GoFundMe page, with a $100,000 goal, was created to benefit the Ingle family.