A broken, grieving mother spoke from her hospital bed on Thursday about her two daughters who were killed and her boyfriend who is behind bars for their deaths.
Mela Skye Torry, 5, and Laela Torry-Tooley, 4, were happiest when they were together, said their mother Chanelle Torry, 28, who is being treated for her injuries at the Nebraska Medical Center.
"They were like two peas in a pod," she said. "People would ask me if they were twins."
The girls, who loved Nicki Minaj songs, Dora the Explorer and meeting new people, died when an SUV flipped and rolled down a ravine near 87th and Quest Streets, near the Sorensen Parkway, about 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday.
The girls' sister, 17-month-old Bri'Elle A. Torry, escaped injury.
Torry, who works as a nurse, blames herself for her oldest daughters' deaths.
But it's her boyfriend, Christopher Phelps who is in jail on motor vehicle homicide charges.
Torry said she didn't know Phelps had at least twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when she asked him to drive her and her daughters home.
She and Phelps had a verbal argument that escalated in volume while her daughters slept in Phelps' house.
Torry said she placed the girls in the vehicle and buckled up the youngest.
But she didn't have time to put seat belts on the still-sleeping Mela Skye and Laela, she said.
Douglas County sheriff's officials said the girls were pronounced dead at the crash site.
"I've been blaming myself since the ambulance ride to the hospital," Torry said.
Family members were devastated by the loss of the two bright-eyed girls.
“We can't handle it,” said Damisha Torry, a cousin of the girls' mother.
Deputies at the scene smelled alcohol on Phelps' breath and noticed other signs of possible intoxication.
Phelps refused to provide a blood sample. However, a test administered at the hospital revealed that his blood-alcohol content was .16 percent — twice the legal limit.
Phelps, who had just started working for an area locksmith, was treated for minor injuries and booked at the Douglas County Jail. He also worked as a music disc jockey, said Damisha Torry.
“We knew him, but nobody liked him,” she said of Phelps. “We always thought there was something off, something weird about him.”
A motor-vehicle homicide charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and the possibility of a 15-year license revocation.
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