clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Moab student charged with killing 2 friends in DUI prom night crash

A Moab man has been charged with driving a car drunk and killing two teenagers following a junior prom in March.
A Moab man has been charged with driving a car drunk and killing two teenagers following a junior prom in March.
Jim Mattingly

MOAB — A Moab student has been charged with drunken driving and killing two teenage passengers following a junior prom in March.

Gage Moore, 18, was arrested Wednesday on charges of two counts of automobile homicide, a second-degree felony. Moore was 17 at the time of the crash. He turned 18 four days later. The charges against him were filed Tuesday night in 7th District Juvenile Court.

Prosecutors with the San Juan County Attorney's Office said they plan to decide "in the coming days" whether to push to have Moore certified to stand trial as an adult on the charges.

In addition to automobile homicide, Moore is also charged with two counts of DUI resulting in serious injury, a third-degree felony; and reckless driving and possession of alcohol by a minor, class B misdemeanors.

Moore was also charged with sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, and lewdness involving a child, a class A misdemeanor. Details about what those charges stem from were not released Wednesday.

San Juan County Attorney Kendall Law would only say that there were no outstanding victims in the case, and that everyone the charges pertain to was in the car that night.

Early on the morning of March 5, the Subaru that Moore was driving rolled several times just south of Ken's Lake on La Sal Loop Road after taking a turn too fast, police say. Three of the five occupants were ejected.

Taylor Bryant, 14, and Connor Denney, 16, were pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected. Daniel McCrary, 17, was also ejected and taken by medical helicopter to a hospital in critical condition. A statement from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office said McCrary remained hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition.

Moore, 17, and Tierney DeMille, 14, were injured and first transported to Moab Regional Hospital before being flown by medical helicopters to other hospitals.

Excessive speed and alcohol were believed to be contributing factors to the crash, the sheriff's office announced after the incident.

In March, detectives served two search warrant affidavits as part of the investigation. In one affidavit, the investigator noted that the "vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed" — more than 80 mph in a 40 mph zone.

A second affidavit states: "The odor of alcohol was detected by EMS workers providing care at the scene. Two EMS workers stated they could smell the odor of alcohol coming from the driver identified as Gage."

Police suspected that Moore had been "drinking at a party," a warrant states. He was flown to a hospital in Grand Junction.

Four of the teens are students at Grand County High School, and one attends Grand County Middle School. Grand County High held its junior prom the night before, ending at 11 p.m. But not all of the teens involved in the crash had attended the dance, according to school officials.

Law said Wednesday that prosecutors have "a really good idea of what happened" that night, but they aren't prepared to release details prior to upcoming court hearings.

He said, however, that there were no traces of alcohol in DeMille and McCrary. Toxicology test results for the two deceased teens, Bryant and Denney, had not been returned as of Wednesday.

Law also said there was no indication all five were partying together that night, but somehow they all ended up in the same car at the end of the evening. He declined to say Wednesday how prosecutors believe they all came together and ended up in the same car.

"All the way around it's just a sad situation," Law said of the gravity of the situation between the fatal crash and now serious charges.

The State Bureau of Investigation is working with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to determine where one or more of the teens got the alcohol. Again, Law said Wednesday that investigators had "really good leads," but they encouraged anyone with additional information to contact them.