INDIANAPOLIS — Brittany Ingle doesn’t know what it’s like to bury a child, but she knows what it’s like to bury three.
Ingle's daughter and twin boys, aged 9 and 6, were killed in October when they were struck by a vehicle while crossing the street to get on a school bus in Fulton County.
Ingle and her husband went to the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday morning to show their support for legislation that would protect children when they cross the street to their school buses.
“We want to help save other children and other families from going through what we’re going through,” Ingle said.
A school bus was stopped on State Road 25 at about 7:30 a.m. with the stop arm and exterior lighting activated in front of a mobile home park. As children crossed the road to get on the bus, four of the kids were struck by a Toyota Tacoma. Alivia Stahl and her twin brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle were all pronounced dead at the scene.
Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, filed Senate Bill 2 to prevent similar incidents. The bill has three main sections:
- Increasing the penalties for people who pass buses with the stop arm out
- Making sure children don’t have to cross a state highway to get to a bus
- Allowing schools to petition to reduce speed limits around bus stops
If Head’s bill becomes law, it would change the charge on passing a school bus with the flashing stop arm extended from a Class D misdemeanor to Class A misdemeanor. If an injury occurs because of the violation, it would be a Level 6 Felony. The person’s license would also be suspended for 90 days, a time frame that could be increased to a year if it’s their second offense or more.
It would also make it illegal for a school bus driver to load or unload students if it requires the children to cross a U.S. or state highway, as what happened in Fulton County in October. If a bus driver knowingly or intentionally violates it, they could be faced with a Class C misdemeanor charge.
Under Head’s bill, Indiana schools must review bus routes and safety policies to make sure they are following the best safety protocols. Schools and individuals will also be able to petition to get the speed limits lowered near certain bus stops.
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While Brittany Ingle and her husband discussed the three children, they played with their necklaces, which contained photos of the children who died in October.
Ingle said the necklace helps keep her children close to her heart.
“The necklaces a way to carry them around with us,” Ingle said. “When I’m nervous I hold it.”
Ingle smiles when she is asked about her children.
“Our children were amazing,” she said. “We lived for them. They were so full of life, so happy, so caring, so compassionate, all three of them. Their smiles, their laughs were all contagious. Mason was such a mommy’s boy. We had twins – Mason and Xzavier. One picked mommy and one picked daddy. ... My daughter, Alivia, was so caring and compassionate, and a mother hen. She loved her brothers more than life itself. She loved life as well. She loved singing. She loved playing softball. And really, she’s my hero. In that split-second, she chose to shield my sons. What 9-year-old does that? … I’ll always, always love her for that. I want the world to know what a brave 9-year-old daughter I had. A daughter who loved those little boys more than life itself. Now they’re resting together and I’m going to fight so no parent has to go through this.”
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