Parleys crash kills girl
January 31, 2007
The body count from a crash in Parleys Canyon rose Saturday with the death of a 17-year-old Park City girl whose car was struck on a mostly dry road by an oncoming SUV.
Rayn Ewing, who died at roughly 1 a.m. Saturday, is the latest victim of the Jan. 21 accident that also claimed the life of 3-year-old Alexis Paget.
The head injuries Ewing sustained in the crash were too severe.
"She was the kind of person that would be there to help anyone out," said Ewing’s sister speaking on behalf of the family. "She was a beautiful, happy and loving person."
Ewing liked photography and was an accomplished singer, according to family members.
"She loved to take pictures of everyone," Ewing’s sister said.
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Meanwhile, her sister’s singing "would literally stop the dancers in their tracks," she added.
"It has caused a great deal of grief," Ewing’s sister said about the girl’s death. "She touched everybody."
Family members call the five days Ewing spent attached to machines at University Hospital "a roller coaster."
"Everyone had such high hopes that she would start improving," Ewing’s sister said. "We wanted it really bad."
The girl’s death, however, brought the family closer.
"I think, if anything, we can thank Rayn for helping our family come together," Ewing’s sister said.
Investigators were still unsure this week what caused a Ford Escape driven westbound on Interstate 80 by 47-year-old Suzanne Graser, of Woods Cross, to strike Ewing’s car and a pickup truck driven by 30-year-old Annette Paget around 5:19 p.m.
"Our heart goes out to [Graser]," a spokeswoman for the Ewing family said. "It was never her fault."
While Graser escaped with minor injuries, this week doctors also expected Annette Paget to survive the crash.
Parkite Toby Martin, who minutes before the accident was driving behind Ewing near Lambs Canyon, said he tried to comfort the girl inside her car while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
"You feel so helpless when you come into a situation where a car is so severely damaged that doors can’t be opened, windows are broken and there is debris everywhere," Martin said. "We tried the doors but everything was so crushed, with a car coming directly over the front of her car."
With Ewing going into shock, Martin said he tried to keep her warm by wrapping her in a sweatshirt he found in the backseat.
"I shook the glass off it and at least covered her left shoulder. I reached in to hold her hand and simply spoke to her," said Martin, who recalled losing his young daughter nearly 30 years ago when the girl drowned in a swimming pool. "Because I had lost a child in an accident my concern was totally focused on her well being. I tried to give her reassurance and told her to hang in there."
Sadness he felt this week for Ewing’s parents was "very real," Martin insisted.
"Parents have such hopes and dreams for their kids and to see a life end so quickly, so dramatically, it just takes time for perspective and acceptance to creep into your everyday life," he said. "Life goes on, it just goes on without their daughter and it’s a big loss."
Ewing’s parents should know their daughter wasn’t alone after the crash "to give them a little bit of a sense of hope that they will in time cope with this loss," he said.
"I spoke to this young woman with calmness and I’m not always calm. But that was the role I was there to play," Martin said. "She wasn’t alone in a crushed car in a snow bank with firemen, for, it seemed like forever, waiting for people to get there."