Carson staffer dies in Iowa van accident
WASHINGTON — A 25-year-old staffer for Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson died Tuesday in a car accident that also injured three campaign volunteers. Carson suspended his campaign for the remainder of the day and planned to travel to Omaha where Braden Joplin was being treated at Nebraska Medical Center’s trauma center.
The campaign confirmed Tuesday evening that Joplin died as the result of his injuries.
“Braden Joplin died following an auto accident on slick roads near Atlantic, Iowa,” the campaign said in a statement. “Three other passengers in the van were treated and released from a hospital in Atlantic, but Joplin’s injuries were severe, and he was brought to Nebraska Medical Center’s trauma center in critical condition for treatment.”
Carson also canceled campaign events for Wednesday.
“We unfortunately had some tragedy in our campaign today,” Carson told CNN affiliate WCIV in Charleston, South Carolina, where he had been campaigning. “One of the vans in Iowa, with one of our staffers and three student volunteers, hit a patch of ice, flipped on its side, (and) was hit by another vehicle.”
Iowa State Police Sgt. Nathan Ludwig told CNN that the accident happened on I-80 near Atlantic around 9:45 a.m. CT when the driver lost control of the van after attempting to change lanes. The van traveled through the median and was broadsided by a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck.
The campaign said three of the passengers, including the campaign staffer driving, were examined and released from Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Iowa.
Earlier on Tuesday, Carson said he had spoken with a neurosurgeon who was attending to Joplin. Carson also said he had spoken with Joplin’s family.
Carson’s Iowa state director, Ryan Rhodes, asked for prayers in a Facebook post.
“Today is one of those days where it’s about more than politics please pray for Braden a dedicated volunteer who put his heart and soul into this effort. Somehow the words Trust in God mean more now than can be expressed,” he wrote.
Rivals offer thoughts, condolences
Several of Carson’s GOP rivals offered their support over Twitter.
“Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer the @RealBenCarson staffers injured in a car accident in Iowa. By His stripes, we are healed. Is. 53:5,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted.
“Thoughts & prayers with @RealBenCarson’s volunteers & staff- involved in a car accident this morning,” tweeted Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager.
“Just heard about the serious car accident involving @RealBenCarson staff and volunteers. Please join me in praying for them,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to @RealBenCarson, his campaign staff and their volunteers today. Praying for quick recoveries,” former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum tweeted.