- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A Minot woman who’s accused of leaving her two preschool-aged children unattended in a car for about an hour while she drank and gambled in a bar with her then-boyfriend claims that the case is a misunderstanding.

Chelsea Erie, 22, faces a felony child neglect charge that carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

“I have not yet had the opportunity to present my side of that story, and I have been the victim of a hysterical overreaction to something that has been blown out of proportion,” Erie wrote in an affidavit that was filed with the court for a custody case involving her daughter.

Erie said in the court document that her children were in the car for “a very brief period of time” and were periodically checked on by herself or her boyfriend while she was getting off work at the bar on the night of the alleged incident, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1X7XhRv ) reported.

Her boyfriend, Daniel Dumas, 25, also is charged in the case.

Police were called shortly after 10 p.m. on Dec. 28 to report that two young children had been left unattended in a vehicle outside the Blind Duck Bar in Minot. Witnesses told police that the children had been in the car for about an hour, but Erie and Dumas said they had been in there for about 15 minutes.

The children were not harmed, according to police.

The fathers of both children have filed for primary custody and child support orders. Both of them are asking that Erie be allowed only supervised visitation.

Erie and Dumas are scheduled to appear in court March 3 for separate preliminary hearings.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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