A horrible van accident in Hampstead, Ontario on a Monday night took the lives of 11 people; ten of them were migrant workers.
After finishing their day’s work of vaccinating chickens at a poultry farm, the group of migrant workers headed home in their 15-seater van when it ran through a stop sign before smashing into a transport truck, taking the lives of both drivers and nine passengers of the van.
According to the police, the driver of the van was identified as Blancas, aged 46, who migrated to Canada for work in 2007 and was planning for a trip home for his 25th wedding anniversary this coming April.
The truck’s driver, also celebrating his 11th wedding anniversary, was identified as Christopher Fulton, aged 38, from London, Ont., perished after attempting to avoid the incoming van.
The other nine van passenger victims were identified as Jose Mercedes Valdiviezo Taboa, 49, his son Fernando Martin Valdiviezo Correa, Cesar Augusto Sanchez Palacios, 53, Enrique Arturo Arenaza Leon, 47, Corsino Jaramillo, 47, Lizardo Mario Abril, 48, Oscar Walter Compomanes Corzo and Elvio Suncion Bravo.
Three other van passengers survived the crash and were identified as Edgar Sulla Puma, 26, Juan Jose Ariza, 35 and Javier Abelardo Alba Medina, 38. The three of them still remain in the hospital; two are in critical condition and the other in a stable condition. Costs such as hospital bills, repatriation, funeral expenses and burial costs will be shouldered by the Safety Insurance Board.
This accident has been dubbed as one of the deadliest crashes in the history of Ontario and which the Provincial Police Chief Superintendent John Cain believe would have been “entirely preventable.”
“Driver error” is the cause that Cain blames. He said that “This crash should cause all Ontarians to pause and seriously consider their own driving habits and immediately change them for the better.”
The police are still investigating whether Blancas’ overall condition, his driving speed, and whether seatbelts were worn by the victims where factors that contributed to the accident. However, it was identified that Blancas carried a Class G driver’s permit according to OPP and it is a requirement to have a Class F driver’s license in order to operate a 15-seat GMC Savana vehicle.