MENTONE, Ind. — The family of three children who were struck and killed by a vehicle while waiting for a school bus in Indiana spoke out for the first time Friday night at a vigil for the victims.
“I don’t get to watch my baby grow up,” Alivia’s father Michael Stahl said. “I don’t get to watch her have her Sweet 16. I don’t get to watch prom. I don’t get to watch her walk down the aisle to get married. That’s all gone."
Nine-year-old Alivia was Stahl’s biological daughter. 6-year-old twins Xzavier and Mason Ingle were his stepsons. The three children were struck down early Tuesday while crossing a rural Indiana road to board their school bus.
“Why are people in such a hurry to get where they’re going not to pay attention to our children?” Stahl said.
Family members slowly made their way into the crowd at the vigil, guided by police and volunteers.
Thousands attended the vigil, which was originally planned for Thursday. It was held at Mentone Little League in Mentone, Ind, where the children used to play. Mourners lit candles, released balloons and prayed.
“Hope. The message is always hope,” said Pastor Rice.
Pastor Rice knows more difficult days are ahead.
“Remember that there are always people that love and care and will be there for you even in your darkest times. So many times we feel like we’re alone but we truly are never alone,” said Pastor Rice.
Relatives of 11-year-old Maverik Lowe were also in attendance. Maverik was also struck. He survived but was critically injured. He is still hospitalized in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Stahl insisted he already sees good coming from this horror including the attention these tragic deaths have brought to safety on our roadways.
“That’s what the purpose was that maybe God had intended,” he said. “To make things safer for all of our children. I’m hoping that this will kind of help with us paying a little bit more attention to our babies."
The driver of the pickup, 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd of Rochester, Ind., was arrested and charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one count of passing a school bus when arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury.
Some at the vigil said they were also praying for Shepherd.