PROVO — Police have identified two children who were killed in Sunday's horrific crash in Provo Canyon on U.S. 189.

Daniel Lopez, 7, and his sister, Jennifer Lopez, 8, who were not wearing seat belts, were ejected from a red 2003 Pontiac Grand Am when it was broadsided on a left-hand turn by an eastbound white truck.

The two children died at the scene from head trauma, said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Cameron Roden.

The children were first- and third-graders, respectively, at Farrer Elementary School in Provo at 100 N. 600 East.

"It's been a very difficult time here at Farrer," said principal Don Dowdle. "We're like family. It's like losing a son and a daughter."

The school district's crisis team visited the Lopez children's classrooms and offered counseling for those who were upset, Dowdle said.

"Our effort is to try to support ... the boys and girls who knew the two children who passed away," said Ray Morgan, assistant Provo superintendent.

The Lopez children have older siblings who also attend Provo schools, Morgan said. Alfredo Lopez, 13, was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and was treated and released Monday.

A second 13-year-old male was also injured in the crash, but police aren't sure if the boy was a friend or relative. He was taken to Primary Children's Medical Center.

Maria Ruiz, the children's mother, was driving the car and was taken via medical helicopter to University Hospital.

She was treated and released Sunday evening, according to University Hospital officials.

Ruiz was attempting to make a left-hand turn out of Vivian Park around 5:30 p.m. Sunday but failed to see the trailer-pulling truck, which slammed into the car's back left passenger door, said UHP Sgt. Brett Christensen.

The white truck went into a roll and landed right-side up down the highway in the west-bound embankment. The trailer was detached and ended up farther down the road.

Jason Bell, 35, of Heber, who was driving the truck, was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released Sunday night, hospital officials said. His two sons, ages 5 and 11, were not injured.

The Pontiac landed on the west side of the road with pieces of its frame strewn across the shoulder and embankment.

Traffic was shut down to one lane for more than three hours while officers conducted their investigation, Roden said.

Drivers lined both sides of the canyon road, waiting as officers directed one line of traffic at a time.

No citations have been issued yet, but Roden said some might be coming.

Vivian Park was full of people enjoying the warm summer evening. Witnesses described hearing a loud crash and said they ran from the park to see the horrific scene.

"This is a busy, busy time," said Deanna Haws of Lehi, who was visiting her house up South Fork in Vivian Park. "There's a lot of people waiting to get out of here."


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com