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Utah man indicted in fatal crash

MOAB — A Roosevelt man faces second-degree murder charges in the wake of a fatal drunken driving collision over the weekend that has left a first-grade Moab girl without a mother and grandparents.

Six-year-old Emma Parry is in stable condition at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., following the accident that claimed the lives of her mother, Kathleen Parry, 35, and her grandparents, James Parry, 72 and his wife, Olive Parry, 67.

Tuesday morning, Grand County Attorney Happy Morgan filed an eight-count indictment against Rex Alan Cross, the driver who, according to the Utah Highway Patrol, crossed the center line and collided with the Parrys' vehicle.

Cross, 28, who is listed as stable at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., Tuesday, is accused of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident. Counts one through three are suspicion of automobile homicide, a second-degree felony. Count four is suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08. The new charges bring to six the number of DUI offenses Cross has faced and upgrade the current DUI offense to a third-degree felony.

Counts seven and eight address improper lane travel and failure to wear a seat belt.

In addition, according to the indictment, Cross was driving with a suspended license and had an open container of alcohol in his car at the time of the crash.

According to Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Todd Peterson, Kathleen Parry was driving a 1986 Ford Bronco east on U-128, known locally as the River Road, at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday when a late-model pickup truck driven by Cross crossed the center divider and collided with the Bronco.

According to friends, the Parrys were on an outing in search of fall color and a fishing spot in the La Sal Mountains. They had traveled only four miles out of town when the collision occurred.

Without her mom and her grandparents, Emma gave authorities the name of her first-grade teacher, Rayelyne Robertson, as her first contact. The Parry deaths leave Emma with no family in Moab. Penelope Batty, a first cousin who was in Moab Tuesday, said the family is "overwhelmed" by the loss but also by the kindness shown to them by friends and neighbors of the Parrys.

"My Aunt Olive would be beside herself," Batty said. "She was such a sensitive person, and she loved the people of Moab. People have opened their hearts, their homes, given us food and provided hotel rooms. We have so much gratitude."

Kathleen Parry and Batty grew up together in Vernal before Kathleen's family moved to Moab. They were in the seventh grade at the time of the move.

"We've been very close," Batty said. "To lose this family is sad beyond belief."

She said Emma so far "is pretty spicy" in spite of neck and facial injuries. "She's full of life. I think she's doing pretty well."

A tearful neighbor of 15 years who preferred not to be named said Olive and James "were very tender people. They were very kind and nice."

Jim Parry owned and operated the Hercules Saddle Tree Co. for more than 20 years.

Funeral services for the family are scheduled Thursday. The burial is to take place in Roosevelt at the Cedar View Cemetery.


E-mail: mossien@frontiernet.net