By Holly Wagner, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The family of a University of Minnesota student critically hurt in a hit and run accident says he passed away Thursday afternoon.

The mother of Ben Van Handel wrote on their Caring Bridge web page, “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.”

She added that his organs will be donated so “other families will not have to say goodbye to their loved ones.”

Early on Wednesday, Van Handel’s mother updated the page stating her son had a CT scan and the results were not good.

Van Handel was a senior at the University of Minnesota. He’s set to graduate next month with a degree in economics. Van Handel is from Appleton, Wis.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Van Handel was walking a friend home the night the accident happened. He’s one of three students who were walking on the sidewalk when a car plowed into them. The other two students are recovering.

Minneapolis police are still looking for the driver. Witnesses reported hearing a car accelerate before the students were hit. Police describe the car as a Toyota Camry or Solera, white, early 2000 model. Officers say the vehicle should have front end damage. If you have any information, give police a call.

Watch Holly Wagner’s Earlier Report

Comments (12)
  1. Sue says:

    I hope they find the a__h_ _ _ and throw away the keys, anybody that would hit 4 people and take off is a coward and doesn’t deserve to be here and should be locked up for a very long time.
    I’m so sorry to hear this about your son my prayers are with your family.

  2. red says:

    I agree. Whoever this jerk is fess up, come forward. How can you live with yourself knowing you have basically killed some poor youngman who is suppose to graduated from college next week and he will never make it. If someone knows something, please tell the cops and bring some justice for this family. My prayers are with you.

  3. red says:

    excuse me I meant next month he is suppose to graduate

  4. max says:

    This is horrifying. I hope they find the person responsible for this.

  5. Linda Tiggy Cotten-kurtz says:

    that driver will get his cause it always comes back to u

    1. Mike says:

      I hope that they catch the person who did this because it is a fallacy that bad things ALWAYS happen to bad people.

  6. Lauri says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Ben and his family. What a tragic accident.

  7. JKB says:

    My heart breaks for this young man’s family and friends. Yet, another innocent life taken! I CANNOT understand how a person could hit someone, then drive off without stopping to render aid. It seems there isnt a day that goes by when incidents such as this isnt reported in the news. Very sad that society has become what it has.Surely, the possibility of receiving a DWI isnt worth the guilt of taking anothers life! I HOPE the driver feels more guilt than he/she can handle, and turns themself in.

  8. Debbie says:

    My heart and prayers go out to this young man and his family and friends. I cannot belive that someone would drive on a sidewalk and mow people over like bowling pins and drive off. This person is not human or is so selfcentered, thoughtless and full of hate that I could almost feel sorry for them, but NOT, I hope he/she is found out and put before us all and given the rest of their inhumane existance in prison and made to think everyday of how their actions caused so much heartbreak and pain,This creature should be thankful that our judicial system is handling and not I for cannot find any mercy for them in my heart.

  9. Thomas says:

    I feel that the person may never get caught which breaks my heart. My roommate was a good friend of his and it’s been hard because I don’t even know what to say to him. I bet the driver of the vehicle was black out drunk and doesn’t even remember hitting anyone. That’s the only thing I can think of that would keep you from turning yourself in.

  10. JKB says:

    Thomas, if he didnt remember hitting anyone or anything, hed sure as hell wonder how his vehicle got damaged, wouldnt he? If he didnt remember, but saw that, youd think hed come forward for no other reason than hearing of an accident in the vicinity he possibly had been driving. His friends should notice a change in his personality, these people become VERY quiet and distant. IF anyone suspects someone they know or has information, PLEASE contact the autorities. We CANT let this go unsolved!

  11. KJC says:

    Ben is the 3rd student from my graduating high school class to have died in the past 14 months. Like the rest, he was a great guy that did not deserve to have his life snuffed out so early. He will be dearly missed by all that knew him. The driver will get what’s coming to him, in this life or the afterlife.

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