A 25-year-old college student who was volunteering on Ben Carson’s Iowa Caucus campaign has died after a roll-over accident on Interstate 80 in western Iowa.
A van being driven by a campaign staffer hit a patch of ice, rolled and was struck by another vehicle near Atlantic.
The campaign field director and two other campaign volunteers were treated and released from the local hospital, but Braden Joplin was flown to an Omaha hospital for treatment.
Carson temporarily suspended his campaign and flew from South Carolina to Omaha to meet with Joplin’s family. “I think that’s where we need to be right now,” Carson said.
Joplin died of his injuries late Tuesday afternoon. Carson released a written statement a few hours later, saying one of the “joys of campaigning is the privilege of meeting bright young men and women” like Joplin. Carson said he’s filled with “a deep and profound sadness” at the young man’s death.
As news of the accident spread on social media, messages of support came from candidates and campaign staff on both sides of the political aisle. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders began his Sioux City rally last night with a moment of silence in honor of Joplin. Carson said that outpouring of support shows “life will always transcend politics.”
Carson called Joplin and those like him who volunteer for campaigns “the unsung heroes of the political process.” Joplin was a student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He was among a group of student volunteers who arrived in Iowa this month to volunteer in the run-up to the February 1 Iowa Caucuses.
Carson posted a photo of Joplin on Twitter with this message: “Rest In Peace Braden Joplin. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”