Family photo
Back row, Janine Howard; adoptive son John DeVores, 19; Matthew, 11; and Rachel, 13; front row, Esther, 8; father Ben; and Caleb, 7.

Eight-year-old Esther Howard, who was injured in a head-on collision that killed her mother and brother Thursday, was pronounced dead Friday at Primary Children's Medical Center, but initially remained on life support to allow for organ donation.

"In tragedy, there is an opportunity for greatness," Nellene Howard, Esther Howard's aunt, said during a press conference. "Our children have been our greatest blessing, and now they have the opportunity to be a blessing to others."

Esther's two surviving siblings remain in intensive care at Primary Children's.

Janine Howard, 39, and Matthew Howard, 11, were killed on impact in the 3:30 p.m. Thursday crash on U.S. 89 between 2200 North and Sunset Drive in Layton.

Caleb Howard, 7, remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, and Rachel Howard, 13, was listed in fair condition.

During Friday's press conference at Primary Children's, Nellene Howard expressed Ben Howard's gratitude for the blood donations used for each of his children who received care.

Ben Howard, 40, was not traveling with his family, and neither was the family's adoptive son, John DeVores, 19, who has lived with the Huntsville family since he was 8.

"It is our hope to encourage others to give the gift of life by giving blood and supporting organ donation," Nellene Howard said.

The Howard family does not have medical insurance, and a relief fund has been set up at Washington Mutual in the family's name.

Any funds beyond what the Howard family needs for medical expenses will be used to support blood and organ donation services.

Layton Sgt. John Holden said the Howards' car was traveling south on U.S. 89 when a pickup truck heading north suddenly veered into the oncoming lane of traffic. The impact caused the truck to flip.

Police did not release the name of the pickup driver as citations and charges are pending. The driver remains hospitalized at Ogden Regional Medical Center, police said.

U.S. 89 was closed about four hours Friday while motorists were rerouted around the crash scene.

Police continue to investigate the crash.

A Web site has been set up for people to leave comments for the family. So far, more than 40 have posted condolences and prayers for the Howard family at