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Families of victims in deadly bus stop crash push for safer bus stops across the state

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Michael Stahl-Alivia’s father, testifying before the committee in regards to his support of Senate Bill 2. “I did not get to say goodbye to my daughter. I did not get to give her a hug, give her a kiss. She was gone.” // WSBT 22 photo

The Fulton County crash that killed three children in October prompted emotional testimony Wed., Feb. 6, 2019, in Indianapolis.

The parents of those children pushed for new safety legislation. They said there should be stricter penalties for drivers who run school bus stop arms and think schools should be able to petition to lower speed limits around specific bus stops.

The bill was unanimously approved in committee.

For the parents of the three children that were killed back in October, this is just another step forward in trying to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else.

“You question and you ask yourself, ‘Why am I here? Why is my daughter not?” said Michael Stahl, father of Alivia Stahl.

Just a little over three months ago, Alivia Stahl and her twin brothers Mason Ingle and Xzavier Ingle were killed crossing a highway to get on their school bus.

“It’s hard,” said Stahl. “I miss my daughter. I miss hearing her voice, I miss seeing her smile. I miss getting her hugs. And not having that is a pain that is indescribable.”

The parents in Indianapolis to testify before a Senate Committee about the need for new school bus safety laws.

“It’s amazing it was passed,” said Shane Ingle, parent of Alivia, Mason, and Xzavier. “Words can’t describe the feelings. It’s amazing to know people agree that bus stop safety is important.”

With approval on Wednesday, lawmakers are now focused on amendments, like helping schools get stop arm cameras, and stricter penalties for violators.

“I think if someone runs a school bus stop arm or a stop sign, or violates the flashing lights and they keep doing it, they keep getting ticketed or charged, they keep getting convicted,” State Senator Randy Head, sponsor of Senate Bill 2, said. “The penalties have to get worse because obviously they aren’t getting it. They are jeopardizing the lives of children.”

The parents agree that severe penalties might make people more aware of school bus safety.

“There’s no year amount that I can say that you should get for taking my son Xzavier, my stepdaughter Alivia, or my son’s Mason’s life,” said Ingle.

“A life is more valuable than any amount of money,” said Stahl, “if a penalty is going to get people to wake up and realize we need to start being safe. We need to start being more responsible with our decisions.”

They will continue to focus on getting laws passed to keep other children safe.

“The last thing I want to see on the news is another accident where an innocent child who hasn’t even began to live their life, lost their life,” said Stahl.

Once the amendments to the bill are approved, it will go to the full Senate for a vote.

The families say they hope Senate Bill 2 soon becomes law.