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School bus stopping bill makes progress at statehouse

The bill was written after 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd hit and killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and 6-year-old twins Mason and Xzavier Ingle.

Posted: Feb 6, 2019 4:50 PM
Updated: Feb 6, 2019 5:14 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - The Indiana Statehouse Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill that seeks to penalize drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses on Wednesday.

The bill was written after 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd hit and killed 9-year-old Alivia Stahl and 6-year-old twins Mason and Xzavier Ingle.

Republican State Senator Randall Head from Cass County authored the bill. He invited the parents of the children to come and show their support for the bill to the committee. He said he drafted this bill with them in his mind.

"I don't know how they can deal with the tragic death of one child, let alone three," he said. "Yet they're able to talk about it in public in a room full of people, and that's intimidating. But they put all of that aside and share their story. I commend them for that."

Representatives from the Indiana State Teachers Association and the Indiana Department of Education also voiced their support to the committe on behalf of their organizations.

Currently it is Class A misdemeanor for an individual who recklessly passes a school bus when its stop arm is extended if the action results in injury. The bill would raise that degree of penalty to a Level 6 felony. The bill would also create an increasing monetary penalty for repeat offenders of non-reckless passing and someone has the potential to loose their license. 

"They keep doing it and they keep getting ticketed or charged, they keep getting convicted," he said. "The penalties have to get worse because obviously they're not getting it and they are jeopardizing the lives of children."

This bill is expected to go to the State Senate floor sometime next week.

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