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Couple faces felony child abuse charges
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A couple charged with walking into the path of an oncoming tractor trailer while pushing two toddlers in a baby stroller have been bound to the grand jury after waiving their right to preliminary hearing.
The pair, Holden Nunley, 19, and the children’s mother, Chelsie Ely, 21, waived their right to preliminary hearing before General Sessions Judge Bill Locke and were bound to the next meeting of the Warren County grand jury.
Their charges have been reduced to felony child abuse from the original charge of aggravated child abuse. The original charge which was against them carried 15 to 25 years in prison and is usually reserved for cases where a child is critically injured. The new charge, which is still a felony, carries two to four years. The downward adjustment in the charge also led to a reduction in bond for the mother, who was released on her own recognizance. Nunley was already free on bond.
Their binding comes after a highway patrolman saw the couple pushing a baby carriage down Viola Road with Ely’s children, both under the age of 2. The trooper said he inquired about their safety given the lack of shoulder on the road, but the pair claimed they were fine. Moments later the trooper said he watched with horror as a tractor trailer swerved to miss the group, neither of the adults even realizing their brush with death. The officer said he then confronted the pair and found out they had been texting about sex, taking their mind from the dangers of the road.
A subsequent investigation of the Ely home found deplorable living conditions with feces on the floor and proof the children had drunk tobacco spit from a bottle and that they had access to prescription medications left lying about.
The children have been removed from Ely’s custody. During questioning following her arrest she told officers she felt she had children too soon in life.