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Sex charges preceded crash for 5 Browns' father

Published February 16, 2011 11:16 am

Little Cottonwood • Dad and mom hurt after car crashed into creek Monday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The father of The 5 Browns, a well-known sibling piano group from Alpine, is recovering from a dramatic car crash just days after he was charged with child sexual abuse.

Keith Scott Brown, 55, was driving a Porsche that plunged 300 feet into a creek in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Monday night.

Brown and his wife, Lisa, were being treated for traumatic injuries and hypothermia Tuesday.

Police said Brown's car was traveling too fast for the area. There were also reports that Brown may have been trying to avoid a large rock in the roadway.

On Thursday, Keith Brown was charged in 4th District Court with one count of first-degree felony sodomy upon a child and two counts of second-degree felony sexual abuse of a child.

The charges indicate Brown engaged in sexual conduct with a child under the age of 14 between November 1990 and October 1992. Brown also sexually abused a child between March 1997 and March 1998, according to the charges.

An initial appearance scheduled in 4th District Court for Feb. 10 was delayed.

Court documents say the charges were filed based on evidence obtained by a Lone Peak police officer, but that evidence isn't detailed. The charges don't indicate how Brown knew the alleged victim or victims, and The Salt Lake Tribune generally doesn't name victims of sexual abuse.

Calls to representatives of the Browns seeking comment or further information about the case weren't returned Tuesday. The Utah County Attorney's Office declined to comment Tuesday night.

Keith and Lisa Brown were heading home at 10:37 p.m. Monday after having a Valentine's Day dinner at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort when their car swerved off the road in the Seven Turns area and plunged into the creek below. Unified Police Department said it appears speed was a factor, causing Brown not to be able to negotiate the turn in the canyon.

The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation. Both Brown, 55, and his wife, 54, were knocked unconscious as the car landed in the creek on its wheels, but Keith Brown soon awoke in the frigid water and was able to call 911.

"We had some difficulty locating them because it was so dark, the location of their car and the deep snow in the area," Unified Fire Authority spokesman Cliff Burningham said. "But we were able to work with him on the phone. He could see the [emergency] lights, hear the sirens, and, eventually, we were able to triangulate his position."

In all, about 25 firefighters responded, using rope lines and rescue baskets to retrieve the couple and load them onto medical helicopters. It took about two hours from the time the crash occurred to rescue and transport the couple to hospitals.

The two were later listed in serious condition. Burningham said Brown suffered head injuries, while his wife had back injuries.

The 5 Browns — Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae — were raised in Utah and have been piano players since early childhood. All five attended The Julliard School and became the first quintet of siblings to study simultaneously at the prestigious school.