Ben Carson Campaign Volunteer Worker Killed in Car Crash

Ben Carson Campaign Worker Killed in Crash
Twitter

01/20/2016 AT 02:00 AM EST

A campaign volunteer for GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson was killed in a crash on an icy road in Iowa on Tuesday after the van he was riding in with other campaign workers collided with another vehicle.

Braden Joplin, 25, of Midland, Texas, died after the 9:25 a.m. accident on I-80 near Atlantic, Iowa, a small city between Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska, Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig tells PEOPLE.

Carson, who was in South Carolina at the time, cancelled his remaining campaign events and travelled to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where Joplin was taken after the crash. Joplin was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m., hospital spokesman Taylor Wilson tells PEOPLE.

Calling Joplin an "amazing young man," Carson said at the hospital that, "the thing that impressed me the most was how compassionate and caring he was about the feelings of other people."



Saying that he hoped Joplin's death would not be in vain, Carson said, "I just hope that maybe his death will help some people to think about the hard-heartedness that has infested our land. People are just mean. They don't care about anybody but themselves. He was just the opposite of that."

Joplin was studying agriculture economics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock but had taken the spring semester off and went to Iowa on Jan. 4 to volunteer with the presidential campaign, according to The Des Moines Register.

"He's an inspiring man,” Joplin told the newspaper of Carson. "I feel like he can bring hope to a nation that's in turmoil."

At the time of the crash, Joplin and two other campaign volunteers were traveling west on I-80 in a 2015 Ford van when the driver, a Carson campaign employee, tried to switch lanes, hit a patch of ice, crossed the median, came up on the opposite side of the road and flipped on its side, according to the Carson campaign and state police.

The van was struck by a 2012 Chevy Avalanche carrying five people, including three children, Ludwig tells PEOPLE.

Joplin, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was taken to the hospital, said Ludwig, who added that he did not know where in the van Joplin was sitting. The other campaign workers were treated at an area hospital and released, according to the Carson campaign. The conditions of the people in the other vehicle is unknown at this time.

Ludwig tells PEOPLE that the roads were icy at the time of the crash. In fact, another fatal accident occurred about 5 miles south about 90 minutes later, he said.

Carson said campaign workers, who work "long hours in the cold, under-appreciated," are "the unsung heroes of the political process," he said in a statement.

Several fellow presidential candidates, including Republicans Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio as well as Democrats Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders conveyed messages of condolences and prayers.
blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners