Student injured in hit-and-run dies

University of Minnesota student Benjamin Van Handel, who had been in a coma since early Friday morning, died Thursday afternoon.
April 21, 2011

University of Minnesota student Benjamin Van Handel, who was critically injured in a hit-and-run early last Friday morning, has died.

The economics major had been in a coma since the accident, and a statement by his family released Thursday afternoon confirmed Van Handel’s passing.

“Despite his heroic efforts, Ben did not survive from the injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle last week. He passed away with his family and friends by his side this afternoon,” the statement said.

“Ben was a selfless, loving person who cared deeply for others. In this spirit, his organs are being donated so that other families will not have to say goodbye to their loved ones.  Thank you for continuing to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

Van Handel was one of three students hospitalized after the early morning incident, when a car going the wrong way down Fifth Street Southeast hit two groups of pedestrians. 

The driver has not been located, and police are searching for a white Toyota, built in the early 2000s, with front-end damage.

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