Victim's grandfather hoping for legislation change following deaths
The grandfather of three children killed in Fulton County has started his crusade for tougher school bus safety laws.
In October, Michael Schwab lost three of his grandchildren.
Xzavier and Mason Ingle, 6 and Alivia Stahl, 9 were hit by a pickup truck near their bus stop on State Road 25 near Rochester.
Alyssa Shepherd, 24, was driving that truck and has pleaded not guilty. She told police she saw the lights but did not recognize it as a school bus until it was too late.
Now Schwab is hoping no one else will make the same tragic mistake.
“If we can save one child's life as a result of being involved in some of these solutions that we're proposing, will maybe not have the memory just end on that horrific day,” Schwab said.
Michael Schwab has launched an effort to create legislation in Indiana that will hopefully protect children while getting onto their school bus.
“I think the first step would be school bus stop arms school bus side cameras,” Schwab said.
There are 16 states which have authorized school bus cameras so far. These allow authorities to track down people choosing to run through stop arms but Schwab said, more needs to be done.
“There is no type of automatic suspension if you blow through a stop sign a school bus that's stopped. That's a little bit troubling to me because having a law but not having any enforcement mechanism makes it really hard to take seriously,” Schwab said.
And he has some ideas for what kind of penalties there should be including: changing current law from a class A infraction to a class A misdemeanor and a fine of up to $10,000.
He also wants to see a class D felony if anyone is hurt or killed and for the driver to be required to go to a victim’s impact panel and serve 120 hours of community service at a hospital or trauma center as well as some other penalties.
“I think we just need to upgrade the legislation,” Schwab said.
But he knows he can’t make anything happen without support from the community.
“There has really been the out pouring of response that we've received from people that's just helped bring that motivation to light,” Schwab said. “I've literally received hundreds of hundreds of people wanting to become part of this, this whole venture to bring better safety to our school children.”
On Monday, Schwab reached out to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb trying to get the ball rolling. He says he will also be contacting each and every Hoosier legislator to try to make positive changes in light of what his family is going through.
Schwab has created a website called Max Strong Forever, for anyone wanting to be a part of the change in legislation.