Day one of testimony for Alyssa Shepherd trial concluded Wednesday

FULTON COUNTY, Ind. --- The first day of Alyssa Shepherd’s trial concluded on Wednesday afternoon. Nine witnesses were called to the stand throughout the day.

Alyssa Shepherd, 24, is the woman charged with going around a stopped school bus and killing three children and injuring another child in Fulton County on October 30, 2018.

Shepherd has been charged with three counts of reckless homicide for the deaths of Xzavier Ingle, 6, Mason Ingle, 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9 and one count of criminal recklessness resulting in bodily injury for the injuries Maverik Lowe, 11, sustained.

She is also facing a misdemeanor count of driving around a school bus with a stop arm extended.

It was an emotional day in the courtroom on Wednesday as both family members and witnesses recalled the events of last year’s tragedy.

The defense told the courtroom that both the defense and the prosecution agreed on the facts of the case, but the decision comes down to whether or not Shepherd acted recklessly.

Recklessness as defined as a standard in Indiana is described as:

“A person who engages in conduct ‘reckless’ if he engages in the conduct in plain, conscious and unjustifiable disregard of harm that might result and the disregard involves a substantial deviation from acceptable standards of conduct.”

Brittany Ingle, Travis Heishman, Maggie Harding, Robert Reed, Mr. Wheeler, Maverik Lowe, Krista Sutton, Lamar Helmuth and Jason Page were called as witnesses on Tuesday.

Brittany Ingle, mother of the siblings that were killed, recalled the morning of October 30, 2018 as being just a little different.

Ingle usually walked the kids to the bus stop every morning, but Selena Ingle, Alivia’s sister, was staying home that day and watched the kids from the window while Brittany grabbed a jacket to meet them outside.

Ingle told the jury that is when she remembered hearing screams.

The state called Travis Heishman, Detective with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, to the stand twice. Heishman was the first law enforcement officer on scene at the crash.

Maggie Harding, a woman driving behind Shepherd, was called to the stand next. Harding told the court she recalled noticing the school bus on the side of the road with the stop arm extended and bright lights on rather quickly.

Harding noticed Shepherd continued to drive and that is when the crash occurred.

Robert Reed, driver of the school bus, testified that the light on top of the school bus usually engages whether it is foggy or not. Reed told the jury he noticed Shepherd’s car was a safe distance behind, so he waved the children on to cross the road.

As Shepherd’s car got closer, Reed recalled that she was not stopping so he starting honking the horn.

Mr. Wheeler, a driver of a box truck on the road at the time of the crash, told the court he came to a stop and all the school bus lights were on and flashing. Wheeler remembered the children laughing and talking amongst themselves as they crossed the road. Wheeler then noticed Shepherd’s car approaching and worried she was not going to stop.

Wheeler told the jury when he first jumped out of the vehicle he started yelling that children had been hit in an attempt to wake people up in the trailer park where the children lived. He remembered thinking that the children may have been hit by a drunk driver.

“She walks up to me…I just stop,” recalled Wheeler. “She says ‘What did I hit?’ and I just kind of threw my hands up and said ‘You hit kids! You probably killed them all,’” said Wheeler.

Wheeler then told the court Shepherd did not appear to be upset and returned to her vehicle.

Maverik Lowe, 11 at the time of the crash, was also struck by Shepherd’s vehicle on that day. Lowe broke all of his bones from the knee down, injured his spine and broke his wrist. To date, he has had 21 surgeries.

Lowe recalled seeing bright lights and trying to decide whether he would jump forward in an attempt to save the children or jump back and save himself; he chose to jump forward.

“I remember waking up and rolling myself over because I couldn’t breathe,” Lowe told the jury.

People in the courtroom teared up as the 911 call was played before the court and Krista Sutton, 911 dispatcher, testified before the court.

The state then called Lamar Helmuth, Crime Scene Investigator with Indiana State Police.

Helmuth told the jury that almost all of the airbags in the truck went off and the airbags had to be cut out to search the truck.

Helmuth shared that dried liquid on the front of the truck was thought to be saliva and that teeth may have crashed into the car, leaving marks.

Video evidence showed a “Watch for School Bus” sign that Shepherd would have passed before the crash occurred.

Jason Page, Crime Scene Investigator with Indiana State Police, also testified. Both Page and Helmuth recreated videos of the drive using the same school bus and simulating similar conditions to that of the crash.

The trial will continue on Thursday morning, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The trial is expected to last until Friday.

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