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San Juan County Sheriff's Office

Police ID 2 teens killed in post-prom crash; 3 remain in critical condition

By Carter Williams  |  Posted Mar 6th, 2017 @ 9:01pm

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MOAB — Police identified two teens killed after their vehicle crashed Sunday morning, while three other teens remain in critical condition at various hospitals Monday morning.

San Juan County Sheriff’s officials said Taylor Bryant, 14, and Connor Denney, 16, each from Moab were killed in the crash. Both were ejected in the rollover, police said.

One other teen was ejected from the vehicle and two others were not ejected but were injured in the crash. All three were listed in critical condition Monday after being taken by helicopter to other hospitals. Their ages ranged from 14 to 17 years old.

At Grand County High School, a moment of silence was held for the victims. A possible candlelight vigil was tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.

Stephen Hren, the high school's principal, said he knew the individuals involved well. In fact, one of those who died was in his office just last week. Denney, he said, was a member of the school's baseball team.

Hren added that he visited the hospital Sunday and said those involved had "pretty extensive injuries."

Hren has been the principle for 10 years and has spent his entire 28-year career at the high school. He said situations like this have happened on occasion.

"Every time, it doesn't change how people feel," he said. "It's pretty melancholy through our school today."

An emergency faculty meeting was held Sunday afternoon. Classes at the high school began Monday with a special assembly to discuss what happened. Hren said he spoke at the assembly as did counselors, who were also at the high school and middle school roaming class to class.

Hren said the focus was to ensure students that were grieving were doing so in healthy ways.

"A town this size, everyone pretty much knew what happened but I just wanted to give everybody the same information," he said. "We invited parents too, so there were some parents with their students — just reiterating that we care about them. That we're there for them."

Approximately 450 students attend the high school.

"We're a small school district. Everybody knows everybody, and everybody cares about everybody," said Grand County District Superintendent Scott Crane.

Police said one of the teens was driving a 2003 Subaru Impreza that lost control while heading north on La Sal Loop Road at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge said the vehicle sped around a curve before rolling several times.

Speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the crash, investigators said. Police said the teens were together after some had attended a junior prom the night before. Hren said it's still unclear what the teens were doing between 11 p.m. Saturday when the event ended and Sunday morning.

According to a Facebook post from the sister of one of the teens, "They were going over 100 mph and took a sharp turn and rolled."

Police said Sunday that three of the teenagers were not wearing seat belts. San Juan Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation.

Hren said a portion of the assembly Monday focused on reminding students to be respectful and not rushing to judgment in regards to the crash.

"We really don't know what happened and we don't need to be putting out speculation, especially on social media because it's only going to be hurtful to the families involved," Hren said.

Contributing: Marc Giauque and Pat Reavy


Carter Williams
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