Utah couple killed in head-on car crash in Hawaii

A Utah couple, a doctor and an attorney, are among three people killed in a head-on car crash over the weekend in Hawaii. The couple leaves behind four children.

A Utah couple, a doctor and an attorney, are among three people killed in a head-on car crash over the weekend in Hawaii. The couple leaves behind four children. (Viorel Margineanu, Shutterstock)

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HILO, Hawaii — A pair of prominent Utahns are dead after an apparent car crash while vacationing in Hawaii.

Salt Lake City-area attorney Rebecca van Uitert and her husband, Heber City Dr. Jason Howell, were killed in a car crash on Jan. 30 in Hawaii. A Facebook post from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School says the two were on vacation when the crash took place, and the couple's four children were at home with other family members.

A total of three people were killed in a three-car, head-on crash on Hawaii's Big Island on Sunday night, according to a news release from the island's police.

Police believe a Toyota SUV was driving south on Highway 11 when it crossed the double yellow line on the road and hit a Jeep SUV in the northbound lane head-on, the release says. After that crash, a Volvo sedan driving south hit the Toyota and was damaged.

Both occupants of the Jeep were unresponsive at the crash scene. They were taken to a local hospital where both were later pronounced dead. In a news release published Monday evening, island police officially identified the two in the Jeep were van Uitert and Howell.

The driver of the Toyota was also unresponsive at the scene and later died at a local hospital. She was later identified as Maile Robello of Volcano, Hawaii. The 72-year-old man driving the Volvo suffered minor injuries and was hospitalized before being released.

Hawaii News Now reported that section of the road has poor visibility and that speed and inattention could have been factors in the crash.

Van Uitert was named a managing partner at the Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP law firm's Salt Lake City office last year, according to her biography on the firm's website. The biography also shows she is formerly the dean of career services at the BYU law school. She also holds a bachelor's degree from BYU.

Howell worked in family medicine as a physician for the Heber Valley Clinic. In a statement to KSL.com on Wednesday evening, Intermountain Healthcare officials confirmed Howell's death and his role at the hospital.

"All of us at Intermountain Heber Valley Hospital and Heber Valley Clinic are deeply saddened about the tragic passing of Jason E. Howell, MD and his wife, Rebecca Van Uitert, JD, following a traffic accident," said Si Hutt, administrator of the Heber City hospital. "Dr. Howell was a beloved friend, physician and medical staff leader. His compassionate care and welcoming demeanor endeared him to patients and fellow caregivers"

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Jacob Scholl joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. He covers northern Utah communities, federal courts and technology.


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