And in an instant, scores of lives were changed.

A young woman in her 20s, driving a pick-up truck in the morning darkness, wasn’t sure what she saw ahead of her. Lights were flashing and the stop signal was extended on an arm from the school bus, but for some reason that wasn’t enough.

In an instant, a 9-year-old girl and her 6-year-old twin brothers were dead. Their lives extinguished.

A fourth child was critically injured.

But those weren’t the only lives changed.

Like the ripples in a pool when a rock breaks the surface, that instant changed scores of lives.

It forever changed the life of the school bus driver, someone who — almost by definition for the job — loved kids and now must live with the memory of that morning in October 2018.

It upended the lives of the parents of those children and the grandparents and the cousins and aunts and uncles.

It knocked a hole in the lives of their schoolmates, their teachers, their friends from the neighborhood, those who knew them from church.

It traumatized the other children on the school bus, guaranteeing months of nightmares to come.

It dealt a blow to the lives of the police officers and EMTs and hospital personnel who, despite their professionalism, feel this sort of pain as strongly as anyone.

Maybe it even changed your life when you read about the fatal accident near Rochester, Indiana, in Wednesday’s newspaper. Maybe it made you think about those times that in your own impatience you almost pulled around a school bus with that stop arm sticking out.

And then there’s the young driver of that pick-up truck.

Her life — her dreams, her hopes, her aspirations — died in that moment. — J.R.