23-year-old Island farmer dies in Quebec highway crash

·2 min read
Ben Van Ginkel is shown with two of his three children in a photo from the GoFundMe online fundraising campaign launched after his harvesting accident in October. (Family photo - image credit)
Ben Van Ginkel is shown with two of his three children in a photo from the GoFundMe online fundraising campaign launched after his harvesting accident in October. (Family photo - image credit)

A 23-year-old Island farmer who was still recovering from a serious harvesting accident in October has died following a highway crash in Quebec.

Ben Van Ginkel's pickup hit the back of a tractor-trailer truck while going up a steep hill in the Bas-Saint-Laurent area Sunday evening.

"The pickup truck that was heading north hit the back of the tractor-trailer truck that was heading in the same direction," Sgt. Audrey-Anne Bilodeau of the Sûreté du Québec, the province's police force, said on Tuesday. "They were kind of climbing a hill."

After the impact, she said, the driver of the pickup truck was taken to hospital, where he was declared dead. The driver of the tractor-trailer wasn't hurt.

Van Ginkel was a well-respected member of his local community of Ebenezer. In October, he told CBC P.E.I. how grateful he was for the help of other farmers and neighbours after losing his hand while trying to adjust a harvester.

"The amount of messages and phone calls and people [who] have seen me is beyond," he said. "I don't even have words to say how appreciative I am of it."

A GoFundMe which was started to help Van Ginkel and his young family during his road to recovery raised over $50,000. But on Tuesday, a sombre post about his death appeared on the same public platform.

In it, neighbour Ellen Peters told donors that Van Ginkel had been driving out west to look for a harvester which had left-hand side controls, so that he could keep working despite the injury to his right hand. The post said relatives from Ontario have come to P.E.I. to help Van Ginkel's wife and their three young children.

When contacted by CBC News, Peters said she would respect the family's wishes that she not give an interview or make an official statement.

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