By Steven Hansen and Thomas Garcia
Quay County Sun
A Quay County woman intends to plead not guilty to a charge of child abuse after she allegedly locked her 7-month-old baby in a car on July 23 as she shopped at the Lowe’s Supermarket in Tucumcari, said her attorney Donald Schutte.
Kelby Koile, 43, was arrested at Lowe’s Supermarket after Sgt. Rusty Shafer and Cpl. Clay Huffman responded at 7:20 p.m. to reports that a child and a dog had been locked in a passenger vehicle, Tucumcari Police Chief Jason Braziel said.
“This was a mistake and a poor choice of judgment,” Schutte said Tuesday, “but there was no intention to put the child in a position of danger.”
Schutte said Koile’s intent, “like countless others,” was to run in, buy a few items, including baby food, and return in just a few minutes. The baby, Schutte said, was sleeping and the car’s air conditioner had been running. Koile decided rather than wake the baby, Schutte said, she would roll down windows, lock the doors and be right back.
When officers received the first call about the incident on June 23, they were told that the child and dog were locked inside a gold Saturn parked in front of the store.
According to court documents, Huffman arrived on the scene first and found the vehicle backing out of a parking space.
Huffman stopped the car and told Koile to return to the parking space and shut off the vehicle.
According to court documents, Koile told Huffman she knew why they had been called to the store, that she knew better and that she was just going to run in and grab some vegetables, but it took longer than expected.
Koile told Huffman she had been in the store about 15 minutes, and had turned the vehicle off and rolled down the windows. Huffman noted that the temperature displayed on the First National Bank of New Mexico nearby read 98 degrees.
The National Weather Service in Albuquerque recorded temperatures in Tucumcari of 96 degrees at about 6:53 p.m., and 91 degrees at 7:53 p.m.
The child was taken to Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital for examination.
Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose advised Huffman to arrest Koile and seek felony child abuse charges against her, court documents show.
Rose said he is pursuing charges because the baby faced endangerment from being left in the car unattended. The car’s windows were open to some level, he said, but that increased the danger of being taken. The open windows also would not completely prevent danger to the baby from heat, he said.
Koile was released from the Quay County Detention Center Wednesday morning after posting a $10,000 bond.
Koile’s father, Jerry Koile, said Monday the baby is healthy and was returned to the family.