ROCHESTER — The father of one of three Indiana children who were struck and killed by a pickup truck as they crossed a road to board a school bus said Thursday that threats against the driver and her family won't bring justice for his daughter or help those she left behind.
Michael Stahl spoke after the 24-year-old driver, Alyssa Shepherd, entered a not guilty plea in Fulton County Court to three counts of reckless homicide. Stahl's 9-year-old daughter, Alivia, was killed in the Oct. 30 pre-dawn collision , along with her 6-year-old twin brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle.
Stahl said after the hearing Thursday morning that he was praying for Shepherd's family and that threats being made against them must stop.
"It's not helping the situation. It doesn't help the prosecutors. It doesn't help the justice system. It doesn't help us. And it doesn't do my daughter justice or the other people who are affected by this," he told WSBT-TV.
Stahl said his focus is now his remaining daughter, who is 11 and was at a doctor's appointment on the day of the crash. He said she is struggling with emotions that no child should have to face.
"A child that age shouldn't have to grow up that fast," he told the South Bend Tribune.
Shepherd struck four children that morning as they crossed the two-lane road to board a Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. bus near Rochester, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Indianapolis.
An 11-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, was seriously injured and Shepherd also faces one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury.
Shepherd told authorities she didn't realize that she was approaching a stopped school bus, despite the activated stop arm and flashing lights. Court documents show Shepherd told police she saw the lights but didn't recognize the vehicle as a school bus until the children were right in front of her.
A message seeking comment was left Thursday for Shepherd's attorney.