Funeral Held for Family Killed on Camping Trip

Sunday, Jul 31, 2011  |  Updated 5:16 PM PDT
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Family and friends remember a Palo Alto family who died in a fiery car crash while vacationing in British Columbia Canada.

Family and friends remember a Palo Alto family who died in a fiery car crash while vacationing in British Columbia Canada.

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A memorial for a family of four from Palo Alto killed in a crash in Canada last week was held Sunday at a Palo Alto elementary school.
       Robert Howard, 48, Ana Maria Dias, 50, and their daughters Samantha, 11, and Veronica, 9, were killed in a crash on Friday on Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park in southeastern British Columbia, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

       Witnesses told police an unloaded flatbed tractor-trailer was going south on the highway when it crossed over the centerline and jackknifed into a Dodge camper van traveling north.        The camper van was towing a Suzuki SUV and contained the Howard family.
       Police believe the driver of the van tried to avoid the truck by swerving to the shoulder of the road, but was unable to avoid the collision.       The truck pinned the van against a road barrier and caused the cars to ignite.
       Other motorists stopped and assisted the truck driver but could not help the occupants of the van because it was burning, police said.       The truck driver was questioned by police and released.
       Canada Border Services records indicated the family had entered
British Columbia on July 21 for vacation, according to police.       A memorial for the family will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday at El Carmelo Elementary School in Palo Alto, where Veronica was in the fourth grade, according to a website established by friends and family.
       Her sister, Samantha, was a seventh grader at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School.
       Robert Howard was the vice president of engineering for Lunar, an engineering and industrial design firm in San Francisco.
       Ana Maria was trying to start her own business as a professional organizer.
       Family, friends and even strangers moved by the tragedy posted messages on the website conveying their grief.
       "We are so saddened by the news of this tragedy," a member of the Chan family wrote. "We have known Robert and Ana Maria and their two beautiful daughters since our children attended Pre-School Family together. We will always remember their creativity, hospitality, generosity, and
wonderful sense of humor."
 

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