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EDINBURGH, Ind. (WISH) — An Edinburgh Police Department officer faces two counts of child molesting, according to the Johnson County sheriff.

The officer, Michael David Nunez, 33, was arrested Tuesday by Johnson County Sheriff’s Office detectives after he was released from a hospital. Charges were filed Dec. 30.

The two counts represent the first and last time these alleged acts took place, said a news release from Sheriff Duane E. Burgess. The victim’s mother first reported sexual abuse on Dec. 29. The victim, a 12-year-old boy, told investigators that he’d been sexually abused by Nunez for six years, usually monthly. News 8 does not identify the victims of sexual abuse.

Nunez had been hospitalized on a detention order after police found him sitting in his car shortly before 3 a.m. Dec. 30 in the area of River Road and Triangle Road at Camp Atterbury. Nunez’s actions and comments led police to seek the order.

Nunez’s case was assigned to Johnson Superior Court 3, but no online court records yet exist with hearing dates for the criminal charges. His bond was set at $160,000, the sheriff said.

Johnson County Prosecutor Joe Villanueva says the case does not involve any allegations of criminal conduct against Nunez committed in his official capacity as an Edinburgh police officer, so no conflict of interest exists with the prosecutor’s office. Therefore, a special prosecutor will not be sought.

Anyone with questions about Nunez’s status as a police officer can call Town Attorney Dustin Huddleston at 317-736-5121.

Edinburgh, located about 20 miles south of Indianapolis, is a town of about 4,590 residents.

EDINBURGH, Ind. (WISH) — A 68-year-old woman from Franklin and a 75-year-old woman from Greenwood died Tuesday afternoon in a crash on U.S. 31 in southeastern Johnson County.

Rita J. Britton and Vicki J. Alexander died at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Johnson County sheriff’s deputies were called about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday to the crash about 500 feet north of the U.S. 31 intersection at South County Road 550 East. That’s about 2 miles northwest of Edinburgh.

Britton was driving a gray, four-door 1990 Ford Probe GL. She was ejected from the car. Alexander was a passenger in the car, and was initially listed in serious condition at the hospital after the crash.

A witness told the deputies that he was driving south and approaching the U.S. 31 intersection when a car in the fast lane began swerving across the yellow line several times. The witness said the car then appeared to overcorrect, slid across two lanes of travel and hit a ditch at a high rate of speed. The impact threw a person from the car, the witness said.

Another witness described the crash in the same manner, but estimated the vehicle was traveling about 90 mph when it passed.

EDINBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Big Woods Restaurant Group is opening the doors to its eighth location at the Indiana Premium Outlet Mall in Edinburgh.

The 4,000 square-foot spot with seating for 120, Big Woods Edinburgh, will open on Sept. 28 next to the Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Bradley stores.

“The Edinburgh location provides an exciting opportunity to grow Big Woods’ fan base,” said Jeff McCabe, co-founder and executive chairman. “The restaurant’s proximity to the interstate and its location within the Indiana Premium Outlet allows us to provide residents and visitors a memorable dining experience paired with great tasting and popular beer, spirits and cocktails.”

The restaurant will offer full-service dining and will feature family-friendly booth and table seating along with a 21-and-older bar area. The new location is expected to employ up to 80, and management is hiring cooks, prep cooks, servers, hosts, bartenders and bussers. 

EDINBURGH, Ind. (WISH) — An elementary school student in Edinburgh is the winner of 2020 Braille Challenge Finals, according to the Braille Institute in Los Angeles.

Emma Stamper has been named the top braille reader and writer in her age group. Stamper also won the Excellence in Spelling Award over all age groups where she was competing against people from ages 6 to 18 years old.

The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired.

EDINBURGH, Ind. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Greg Pence is coming under criticism for allowing the sale of objects with racist depictions of African Americans at a sprawling antiques mall he owns with his wife.

The issue has taken on particular significance amid a national reckoning on race.

The Exit 76 Antique Mall in Edinburgh, Indiana, has more than 4 million items for sale by the merchants who rent booths from the Pences. Sprinkled throughout the mall are dozens of objects that trade in Jim Crow-era caricatures and stereotypes.

Pence’s Democratic challenger, Jeannine Lee Lake, drew attention to the objects recently.

Through a spokesperson, the Republican congressman told The Star Press that he “is not engaged in the active management” of the mall.

Greg Pence is the vice president’s older brother.

Donations allow family to renovate home for girl in wheelchair

EDINBURGH, Ind. (WISH) — A family in Edinburgh is receiving life-changing home renovations thanks to donations made by their community.

The Clawsons have a 12-year-old daughter who needs a wheelchair due to her medical condition. As Bria Clawson has grown, it has become more and more difficult for her family to move her around the house and other simple things.

Soon, they won’t have to worry thanks to the gracious donations of people within their small town.

For years, the Clawsons have been doing different renovations to their home to make it more accessible for Bria.

“She was born with a rare genetic disorder called CDKL5. It is a seizure disorder,” said Bria’s mom, Kelli Clawson.

Some of the home projects include adding lifts around the house, a handicap-accessible restroom, and removing walls so she can get around in her chair.

“You know with equipment and her bed and just medical needs, we just needed more space,” Kelli said.

Bria’s wheelchair can hardly fit in her room next to her bed, which makes it difficult for her parents to get in and out of her chair.

“She’s as tall as I am so just getting her in and out of places with her wheelchair is difficult,” Kelli said. “Safety is a huge issue. It is not safe for us to be carrying her anymore.”

Due to Bria’s condition her mom can’t work full time. For about a year, the Clawsons worked to raise money for the renovations. When local home renovator and real-estate broker Angela Kelsay heard about their need, she said she had to help.

“I have watched their story play out on Facebook and saw the struggles that they have dealt with and I always thought that if I had the opportunity to help that I would,” said Kelsay, who is the project manager.

Since Kelsay stepped in, in just a week and a half almost all the labor they need for the room add-on, the bathroom and deck renovation has been donated as well as some of the materials.

Kelli’s mom said, “We just want to give her everything we can to make her life better.”

With labor, materials and medical equipment, the project would cost the family an estimated $50,000. They say this renovation is going to be life-changing both for them and for Bria.

“It is a small town and when one of our own is in need we all pitch in and it has become so incredibly evident in this situation. It has really been amazing to watch,” Kelsay said.

The project manager says not only have different businesses been providing labor but local businesses also have been hosting fundraisers to donate to the cost of the projects.

Bria’s mom said, “Oh, my gosh, it is overwhelming. I just keep saying thank you isn’t enough.”

The family has been using the #BriasProject to document their journey.

They are still in need of some donations for material costs and to buy some equipment so that Bria can do her physical therapy and stretching at home. They hope to finish the project by summer.

New name for Edinburgh outlet mall

EDINBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. has announced Edinburgh Premium Outlets will become Indiana Premium Outlets.

The company said extensive enhancements are underway to reflect the new name and are slated for completion by the holidays.

The improvement project includes a new archway featuring public artwork, a food truck plaza with shaded seating and a playground plaza with interactive equipment and shaded picnic tables.

“We know that guests from across the state are drawn to the center because of our iconic brands, significant savings, and dynamic shopping environment,” said Heather Little, general manager for Indiana Premium Outlets. “Our updated moniker better reflects the geographic makeup of our visitors and, combined with the current renovation, will offer shoppers a more engaging atmosphere to enjoy.”

In addition, the company is installing several new digital directories on property.

Semi plows into Edinburgh home

EDINBURGH, Ind. (WISH) — Lynn Stover was overcome with emotion when she learned she had narrowly avoided death.

The Edinburgh resident was at work when a semi-tractor driver passed out behind the wheel, drove off the roadway and plowed into her rental home Monday afternoon at the corner of Grant and Toner streets.

The truck crashed into her side of the duplex and tore through her empty bedroom, bathroom and living room before screeching to a halt in her kitchen, witnesses said.

“I’m alive and I’m very grateful for it,” Stover told News 8, wiping away tears. “If it had happened during the night, it would have killed me. My bed is in pieces.”

The unidentified driver was extricated from his vehicle and transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. 

Authorities were unable to confirm his condition Monday night but indicated they had not ruled out a medical event as the cause of the accident. There was no evidence the driver was intoxicated, police said.

Timothy Myers, a neighbor who saw the truck from his living room window moments before the crash, said he was speechless when the dust cleared and he saw the extent of the damage.

“The whole cab [of the truck] was buried inside [the house],” he told News 8. “The whole cab! The very back of the truck was even with the outside wall. That’s how much of it went in.”

Myers and other friends boarded up the side of the house while relatives helped Stover salvage her belongings from piles of debris.

Jim Biehle, the property owner, said preliminary repair estimates exceeded $50,000.

The investigation into the accident remained ongoing Monday night.

“I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me,” Stover said. “I’ve been down before. I’ll get back up.”

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — One man is dead after a two vehicle crash Saturday night near Edinburgh.

It happened around 9:30 p.m. when a 2003 Honda Accord driven by 27-year-old Evan Stewart was traveling eastbound on County Road 1000 near Base Road when he struck a concrete barrier. The vehicle overturned before stopping in the roadway.

Investigations showed that Stewart may have exited his vehicle and was standing in the roadway when he was struck by a vehicle driven by 25-year-old Andrew Adams.

Stewart was pronounced dead on the scene. Adams did not suffer any injuries in the crash.

A third vehicle was also believed to be at the second crash before leaving the scene. 

Alcohol is suspected to be involved in a both crashes. 

The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information on the crash is urged to call Indiana State Police at 812-689-5000.

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — A Columbus man died in a one-truck crash Friday night near the outlet mall, the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office said Monday. 

Danny L. Lewis, 45, lost control of his 1989 Chevrolet pickup on the ramp from U.S. 31 to I-65 near the Edinburgh Premium Outlets. Lewis was found outside his truck when emergency crews arrived about 5:25 p.m. Friday. 

Lewis died at Columbus Regional Hospital. Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest. 

Toxicology results were performed, and results typically are received within two weeks.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash, the coroner said in a news release.