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Driver is charged in wreck that killed pregnant woman

A Letcher County man has been indicted on two charges of murder in connection with an SUV wreck that killed a 28-year-old Neon woman and her unborn child.

The Letcher County Grand Jury returned the indictment last week against Charles Edward Gross, 36, of Pistol City, a community located between Sandlick Gap and Camp Branch.

Gross is charged with murder in the November 9 death of Amanda F. Smith and with fetal homicide in the death of Smith’s unborn child.

The grand jury says Gross was under the influence of the antianxiety drug Xanax when he lost control of the Ford Explorer he was driving on 931 North at Camp Branch. Smith and her unborn baby died of injuries they suffered when the Explorer hit a culvert, flipped, and landed on the driver’s side.

Gross suffered only minor injuries in the mishap. Neither he nor Smith was wearing a seat belt when the wreck occurred, police say.

Gross was also indicted by the grand jury on charges of possession of Xanax, a controlled substance, and with being a persistent felony offender.

The grand jury’s action last week marks the second time in less than a year that Gross has been indicted on felony charges.

In March 2008, Gross was indicted on two counts of receiving stolen property in connection with the theft of 900 pounds of copper and four industrial Caterpillar batteries from Les Hall of Kona.

The grand jury accused Gross with receiving the copper wire and batteries from Hall, then representing himself as the owner of the stolen goods while selling them to a scrap metal dealer.

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