Alyssa Shepherd found guilty on all charges

NOW: Alyssa Shepherd found guilty on all charges

FULTON COUNTY, Ind. --After two and a half hours of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict in the trial of Alyssa Shepherd who was charged with killing three children and injuring a fourth with her vehicle as they attempted to board their school bus.

The jury found Shepherd guilty of three counts of reckless homicide, one count of criminal recklessness and one count of driving around a school bus with a stop arm extended.

Sentencing for Shepherd is scheduled for December 18 at 1:00 p.m. She is still out of custody until the sentencing.

Shepherd was charged in the deaths of Xzavier Ingle, 6, Mason Ingle, 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9 and for injuries sustained by 11-year-old Maverik Lowe.

The verdict came less than three hours after the defense rested its case.

Friday was the fourth day of testimony in Shepherd's trial. It was the first time Shepherd has spoken about the crash.

Shepherd testified she dropped her husband at work and was on her way to drop her kids off at school and welcome a new youth pastor to church when she came upon a large vehicle.

"I saw a vehicle, it was a very large vehicle. I couldn't tell what it was," Shepherd testified.

She said she assumed it was an oversize load/modular home.

“When I saw children I instantly knew it was a bus," Shepherd said.

She doesn't remember how she moved the steering wheel but said she did brake.

Shepherd testified she tried to call 9-1-1 but couldn't get through so she called her friend Brittany and her husband.

After the crash, she got out of the truck to look around. She didn't see the bodies, but saw a man with an "intimidating face" so she got back into her vehicle, she testified.

She also testified why she didn't ask about the condition of the children. She said she didn't know if the officers who were around her were at the scene and had that information. The only information she had was someone from church said to pray because four kids were hit at a school bus stop, she testified.

When asked if she saw the watch for school bus sign near the bus stop, she said she saw the curve sign but no bus stop sign.

The prosecution asked Shepherd what she does when she sees a blinking yellow light.

“It just makes you aware of the object usually.”

When asked what to do when you see a blinking red light she replied, “Sometimes you see blinking red lights on a vehicle and you don’t have to stop.”

When asked how familiar she was with the road she said she drives it several times a week.

“It was extremely dark," Shepherd said. "I noticed there were red blinking lights. I did not see the school bus. There were so many lights on the vehicle I couldn’t tell what it was.”

The transportation director for Tippecanoe Valley Schools, Lyle Butt, also testified Friday.

He explained bus drivers must turn their yellow lights on 500 feet before a stop and the red lights 200 feet before a stop.

He said in 2015 a car rear ended a bus at that particular bus stop, but in the 50 years there has been a bus stop there - there have only been two crashes.

When asked why the bus stop was on the road and not at the mobile home park, Butt said the park's owner thought the weight of the bus would collapse the septic system.

Shepherd's husband Neil testified Friday as well. He said five minutes after she dropped him off to work, he received a phone call from her.

"She was very hysterical. I couldn’t quite make out what was going on. I assumed she was in an accident," Neil said.

At the scene he went up to Shepherd and she was crying, saying it wasn't okay, Neil testified.

Shepherd's friend Brittany Thompson also testified about receiving a phone call from Shepherd that morning.

She said when she answered the call all she could hear was screaming.

"She was screaming that she didn't know it was a bus," Brittany testified. "You could tell she was going in and out of shock."

Closing arguments began at approximately 2:30 p.m. and reached a verdict at approximately 6:30 p.m.

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