By Bryan Wells
INDIANAPOLIS—The parents of three children killed at a school bus stop last fall made a trip to the Statehouse Wednesday to urge members of a House committee to increase the penalty for drivers who fail to stop when a bus is loading children.
“One of the importance of this legislation is that no family should have to go through a loss of a child, let alone three,” said Brittany Ingle, mother of the children, at a hearing of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee.
Parents Shane and Brittany Ingle, whose children were killed at a school bus stop last year, appeared before a House committee to urge passage of legislation to increase penalties for drivers who drive past stopped school buses. Photo by Bryan Wells, TheStatehouseFile.com
“We have innocent children trying to go to school and people are just disregarding stop arms. That’s our future getting on those buses and people are just being so reckless.”
Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, author of Senate Bill 2, appeared before the committee to explain that the law is needed to stop motorists from ignoring the extended stop sign and flashing lights when a school bus stops to pick up youngsters.
On Oct. 30, a driver had failed to stop for a bus with a flashing extended stop sign and struck the three young children of Brittany Ingle, who were crossing the road to get onto the bus.
“Three students, a sister and her two younger brothers that were twins got ready for their normal day of school like they’ve done hundreds of times before,” Head said. “The school bus came and stopped and they had to walk across State Road 25 in Rochester to get on that bus, and sadly enough they did not make it.”
Killed in the accident were Alivia Stahl and her twin brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle. Brittany Ingle was joined at the hearing by her husband, Shane Ingle.
“It’s still happening, that week it was happening every time I turned on the news and my heart breaks for those families as well,” Brittany Ingle said.
School bus drivers across Indiana reported 3,000 violations of drivers not stopping when the stop arm is extended or simply driving around the bus.
Under the proposed legislation, any individual that passes or fails to stop for a bus with an extended stop arm causing injury or death could be fined up to $20,000 along with their other penalties.
The Senate passed SB 2 on Feb. 18 by a 49-0 vote. The House committee is expected to consider amendments to the legislation before voting on it.
“If I can try and make a difference to help other people from going through my pain, I will,” said Brittany Ingle. “Not in a million years did I ever think that I was going to lose my kids to try to put them on a school bus.”
Bryan Wells is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.