GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson encountered some tragic news when a newsOne volunteer was killed and three more were injured on Tuesday after one of Carson’s campaign vans crashed in Iowa’s Cass County.
Braden Joplin, 25, who was a volunteer for the retired neurosurgeon, was airlifted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center on Tuesday, but died at 4:30 p.m., according to medical reports.
— Mashable (@mashable) January 20, 2016
Reports said that the van hit an ice patch along Interstate 80 and flipped sideways, before another vehicle crashed into it. Several crashes were also reported within the area due to the fatal accident, which took place at around 9:30 in the morning.
The other three passengers, Drew McCall, a campaign field director, and volunteers Aaron Ohnemus and Ryan Patrick Shellooe, were not seriously injured, and have been released from Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Iowa.
Upon learning about the incident, Ben Carson, who was campaigning in South Carolina at the time, immediately postponed his campaign for at least two days to travel to Omaha, Nebraska.
On Tuesday night, Carson told reporters that Joplin was “an amazing young man.”
Dr. Ben Carson w/ his campaign volunteer who died today in car accident in Iowa…so sad pic.twitter.com/YL3osNBpOs
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) January 20, 2016
The 64-year-old presidential candidate added that he hopes the volunteer’s death will help people think about the “hardheartedness” in the country. He added that people are just “mean,” say things to hurt people, and do not care about others.
Ben Carson said that Braden Joplin was the opposite of those people, and he hopes “his death will not be in vain.”
He also tweeted a picture of him and Joplin, smiling, with the caption: “Rest In Peace Braden Joplin. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Joplin was a student at Texas Tech University and began campaigning for the Ben Carson campaign in January. The report said that the campaign will cover the family’s expenses to travel from Midland, Texas, to Omaha.
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) January 19, 2016
Meanwhile, other candidates have expressed their support and prayers on social media when they found out about the accident.
“Just heard about the serious car accident involving Dr. Ben Carson’s staff and volunteers. Please join me in praying for them,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Sen. Ted Cruz shared a Bible verse on Twitter and said that he and his wife are praying for Carson’s staffers.
The Democratic party’s frontrunner, Hilary Clinton, also shared her condolences to Joplin’s family.
The campaign said that Ben Carson would resume his campaigning on Thursday in Iowa, where he has seen a steady decline of support. Now that the February 1 caucus is fast approaching, he has to regain some lost supporters in the state.
I’m suspending all campaign activities today due to a car accident involving members of our team. Full statement: https://t.co/Uf9HZrn2P6
— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 19, 2016
The accident is also seen as a setback for Carson’s campaign, which has become more difficult to pursue due to lack of funding and support.
Moreover, even Carson’s own staff reportedly has had a lack of confidence in the former neurosurgeon’s campaign for presidency.
Ben Carson has been seen by many as among the most ideal candidates for presidency, but his soft-spoken character has placed doubts in people’s minds whether he has the capability to run a country if he wins.
Ben Carson’s Campaign Finance Chairman Resigns https://t.co/hS4fKAwgGQ
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) January 14, 2016
The report said that Carson’s decline in the Republican nomination race began in November, after terrorists bombed several locations in Paris, France. When two ISIS sympathizers led a shooting incident in San Bernardino, more people asked whether Carson has enough credentials to fight terrorism with a firm hand.
Regardless of his decline in polls, Ben Carson maintains a busy schedule in campaigning, banking on his rags-to-riches life story as well as his Christian beliefs.
“Do not listen to those… trying to discourage you because they want to continue down this pathway that we’ve been going down – both Republicans and Democrats. I represent something very different,” said Ben Carson in a recent campaign in Iowa.
[Image by Justin Sullivan, Getty Images]