A 9-year-old girl in Indiana died Tuesday morning trying to shield her younger brothers from an oncoming car.
Alivia Stahl was crossing a street in Rochester with her 6-year-old twin brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle, to catch a waiting school bus.
As the kids crossed the southbound section of the road, a 2017 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck slammed into them, killing them all at the scene, according to CBS News.
An 11-year-old also at the scene suffered multiple broken bones but was able to speak to emergency workers before being airlifted to a hospital in Fort Wayne, where he is undergoing surgery.
Elgin Ingle, the uncle of Alivia, Xzavier and Mason, told CBS News Alivia was a “mother hen” always watching out for her little brothers.
“It’s horrible that this happened,” Ingle said. “They were holding hands every day on the way to the bus stop including today…it looks like Alivia stepped in front of the car for the boys. It looks like Alivia seen what was happening, and she stepped up like a hero. I wish she could’ve saved her brothers, but she’s still a hero.”
Police arrested the truck’s driver, 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd, Tuesday afternoon at her place of employment, according to local outlet WSBT TV.
Shepherd has been charged with three counts of reckless homicide and a misdemeanor for passing a stopped school bus when the arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury.
Sgt. Tony Slocum of the Indiana State Police said the troopers handling the crash had a hard time dealing with the tragedy.
“I just can’t imagine that pain,” Slocum told the station. “I haven’t seen troopers cry in a long time, but I saw that today.”