ROCHESTER, Ind. (AP) — A 9-year-old girl and her twin 6-year-old brothers were struck and killed by a pickup truck as they crossed a road to board a school bus in northern Indiana before sunrise Tuesday, police said. A fourth child was badly hurt and airlifted to a hospital.
A Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. bus stopped and lowered its stop-arm on the road near Rochester around 7 a.m., just before a northbound pickup truck slammed into the children as they crossed the southbound lane, Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said.
The siblings died at the scene, and an 11-year-old boy who was also struck suffered multiple broken bones but was conscious and speaking to emergency workers before he was airlifted to a hospital, Slocum said.
The children's names have not been released. Slocum said the boy who survived was not related to the children who were killed.
Slocum said authorities were interviewing the driver, but that it was unclear if she would face charges in the deaths. Indiana law requires motorists to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children.
The students had the right of way as they crossed the street from the rural mobile home community where they lived, Slocum said.
"It's an unspeakable tragedy," he said. "We all have a responsibility to share the roadway and we're all responsible for making sure our children get to and from school safely."
The Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. said in a statement posted on Facebook that counselors had been dispatched to its schools to help students, staff and parents and urged "the community to come together to pray for the families."
Detectives were interviewing witnesses and a crash reconstruction team was at the scene near Rochester, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Indianapolis.