Utah couple killed on Hawaiian vacation leaves behind 4 kids

Rebecca van Uitert and Jason Howell, both 44, were on vacation in Hawaii when they were involved in a fatal car crash.

Rebecca van Uitert and Jason Howell, both 44, were on vacation in Hawaii when they were involved in a fatal car crash.


A beloved couple from Utah has died in a car accident while on vacation in Hawaii, police and loved ones say. The two left behind four children, along with a “gigantic, gaping hole” in the world.

Rebecca van Uitert and Jason Howell, both 44, were involved in a three-vehicle collision on Jan. 30 while vacationing. A Toyota crossed the road’s divider line and struck the couple’s Jeep head-on, Hawaii police said in a news release. Another car then crashed into the stopped Toyota. The person driving the Toyota also died. Police believe that “inattention and speed” were factors in the crash.

The couple’s four kids were with their grandparents in Utah at the time of the accident.

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The couple pictured with their four children. facebook

Friends describe the Heber City couple as wonderful, loving parents that had a “sphere of influence that was so large” and were determined to change the world.

One close friend said van Uitert, who was an attorney, was an “amazing example.”

“She proved to me that you can be a loving mother, excel in your career, and subtly and loudly fight the evil in this world all at the same time,” Tiffany Ball wrote on Facebook.

According to van Uitert’s LinkedIn page, she had over a decade of experience in immigration law before recently becoming a partner at a law firm in Salt Lake City dedicated to helping people “navigate the immigration landscape.”

Her husband Jason Howell was a family physician in Heber, Utah, and attended Loyola University in Chicago.

Van Uitert’s Brigham Young University’s law school dean posted a tribute to her and Howell.

“I know many of you will feel, as I do, an almost incomprehensible sense of loss that people who were such a big part of our lives and who were doing so much good in the world could be taken so young,” Dean Gordon Smith wrote.

Friends and Acquaintances alike mourned the loss of the pair.

“I’m in shock, they were angels on Earth. All the time Rebecca gave helping immigrant families at the border and in countless other ways. Bless their children and family,” wrote one Facebook user.

Now, friends are urging those who knew the couple to write letters so their children — Maria, JJ, Manny and Roxy — can read all about how extraordinary their parents were.

“The world will truly never be the same without them,” Ball wrote.

Heber City is about 45 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Mariah Rush is a National Real-Time Reporter. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has previously worked for The Chicago Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


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