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The Globe and Mail

Survivors and victims' families share in money raised after horrific crash

Giovanna Figueroa (wife of injured Peruvian Javier Alba) accompanied by her two sons Sulman (14-years-old) and Ashraf Alba (6-months-old) at their home in Comas.

Pilar Olivares/Pilar Olivares/The Globe and Mail

About $300,000 has been raised to help three survivors and the families of 11 men killed in a crash on a country road in Southern Ontario two months ago, one of the deadliest collisions in the province's history.

Most of the victims were temporary farm labourers from Peru and the breadwinners of their families. The tragedy struck a chord with Canadians and touched off an outpouring of financial support, said Naveen Mehta of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, which set up one of two funds after the Feb. 6 crash in Hampstead, Ont. The Township of Perth East established the other.

"These were people who came to Canada to build a better life," Mr. Mehta said. "There are now wives, children and families without an income."

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The money will be divided equally, resulting in about $22,000 for each survivor and family members of the dead. The first cheques will be presented on May 9 to Javier Aldo Medina and Juan Jose Ariza, who are recovering in a care home in London, Ont. The third survivor, Edgar Sulla Puma, suffered serious head injuries and remains in a hospital.

Ontario Provincial Police have wrapped up their investigation into the crash and will not be pursuing charges, said Constable Kees Wijnands. Early on, police determined a van carrying the migrant workers failed to yield at a stop sign for a transport truck. A month-long probe uncovered no other factors.

A report on the investigation has been sent to the Ontario coroner's office for review. An inquest into the tragedy could be called. The Ministry of Labour is still investigating the incident. The 13 farm workers were employed by MARC Poultry Vaccination Services. All were connected to company owner Alex Carrion in some way – through family, friends or former neighbours in Peru.

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