Speaking to ABC News exclusively in his Marriott hotel room as he prepares to return to the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson says he and his staff have used the past two days to recover after a tragic van accident, that left three injured and 25-year-old campaign volunteer Braden Joplin dead.
"I am telling my staff that obviously this is not their fault. Everybody does the best that they can do, but bad things happen in the world,” Carson said. “Let’s always look for the good. Is there anything good that comes out of this? I think recognizing what kind of person Braden was and how he was so dedicated to making other people feel good. Wouldn’t that be a great thing for all of us to start doing? I call (this process) 'The Braden Effect.'”
Once hearing about the accident, Carson immediately suspended campaign activity and flew to Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday where Joplin had been taken for treatment.
The retired-neurosurgeon told ABC News he immediately went into doctor mode, speaking with the doctors in the trauma center, receiving updates on Joplin’s condition as he traveled, and taking time out, to meet with the family.
“I knew they would do everything that they possibly could to save him, I knew that was going to happen and you know what help could I be?,” Carson said reflecting on the accident. "What help can we be to the families? What support can we show? This is the kind of tragedy that you can’t even imagine what this feels like to lose your child. I mean, there’s nothing else that even compares to it.”
According to a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the Carson campaign, a van transporting the three volunteers and a campaign field director, “hit a pitch of ice and flipped on its side where it was struck by another vehicle” around 11 a.m. local time near Atlantic, Iowa.
Restarting his campaign today in Glenwood, Iowa, Carson says he will be honoring the memory of Joplin as he travels through the state.
“Of course I will be mentioning [Joplin], absolutely,” Carson said. "I am sure it will influence what I have to say.”
Carson has used the past two days in Omaha to visit with Joplin’s family, comfort his staff, and go to the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center to visit with the kids injured in the other vehicle involved in the crash.