Omahan gets 20 years in 'horrific,' drunken crash that killed girlfriend's 2 daughters

Christopher Phelps

A judge called it reckless. A prosecutor called it idiotic.

An Omaha man will spend the next 10 years in prison for driving drunk in a domestic spat, crashing his SUV and killing two of his girlfriend's daughters, Mela Skye Torry, 5, and Laela Torry-Tooley, 4.

Douglas County District Judge Joseph Troia on Tuesday sentenced Christopher Phelps, 36, to 20 years in prison for two counts of motor vehicle homicide.

After an argument Oct. 10 with his girlfriend, Chanelle Torry, Phelps was going to drive Torry and her children home.

He pulled out of his driveway before Torry could buckle the sleeping girls in.

Torry asked Phelps to stop, but he sped off and crashed less than a block from his home.

His SUV went off the roadway and rolled into a ravine near 87th and Quest Streets in Omaha.

The girls were ejected from the vehicle and died of their injuries. Tests later showed that Phelps had a blood-alcohol level of at least .16, twice the legal limit.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said he was pleased that the judge gave Phelps the maximum term, even though the two sentences are to be served at the same time.

Under state sentencing guidelines, most defendants serve half their terms before they are eligible for release.

“It's horrific,” Kleine said of the case. “These little girls were simply passengers in a car.

They were at this guy's mercy, and they lost their lives because of some totally thoughtless, idiotic actions.”

Recovering in the hospital last fall, Chanelle Torry said: “Those babies were my world.”

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