Alyssa Shepherd’s reckless driving conviction vacated, felony convictions upheld by appeals court
FULTON COUNTY, Ind.—An Indiana court on Monday denied Alyssa Shepherd’s appeal of her felony convictions in the Fulton County bus stop tragedy in 2018 but did vacate a misdemeanor reckless driving conviction, according to court documents.
Shepherd was convicted of hitting and killing three children and injuring a fourth as they attempted to board their school bus on S.R. 25 in October 2018.
Xzavier Ingle, 6, Mason Ingle, 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9 died at the scene. A fourth student, Maverik Lowe, suffered severe injuries.
On Monday, Shepherd had her Class A misdemeanor reckless driving conviction vacated by the court based on the grounds of double jeopardy, according to court documents.
The court upheld her felony criminal recklessness conviction because the conviction carries a more severe criminal penalty than the misdemeanor reckless driving conviction.
In the opinion, the court said that both convictions were based on the same act of recklessly driving past the stopped school bus and causing injury to Lowe, and both were established by the same evidence.
The court also upheld her three felony convictions of reckless homicide, denying Shepherd's claim that the state failed to show sufficient evidence that her actions were reckless.
In the opinion issued on Monday, the court remanded the issue of Shepherd’s driver’s license suspension to the lower court for clarification, according to court documents.
Shepherd was convicted of three counts of Reckless Homicide, Reckless Driving Causing Bodily Injury and Criminal Recklessness in October 2019 after a trial by jury.
In December 2019, Shepherd was sentenced to serve four years in prison, three years in home detention and three years of probation. Her driver's license will be suspended for 10 years.
Shepherd appealed the conviction in May of 2020 and made the following four arguments:
- The state failed to show sufficient evidence her actions were reckless
- The court erred in not allowing the jury to be instructed in the difference between negligence and recklessness
- That her convictions on criminal recklessness and recklessly passing a school bus constituted double jeopardy
- State law does not allow for her license suspensions to run consecutively
The Court of Appeals of Indiana issued the opinion in an unanimous decision.