The second van with 13 people on board was only 500 metres from Mr. Burgers’s farm when the crash occurred. The van’s driver, David Blancas Hernandez, turned onto Perth Road 107 as a transport truck driven by Chris Fulton approached. Mr. Fulton swerved, but he didn’t have enough time to avoid the packed vehicle. His red truck rolled onto its roof; the white van crumpled like an accordion.
When the crew didn’t return to the New Hamburg warehouse or to the Kitchener apartments, co-workers began to worry and phoned the Carrions. Mr. Carrion tried Mr. Blancas’s cell, but there was no answer. Just before 7 p.m., the police told him to go to the Stratford hospital.
Three men survived – Juan Jose Ariza, 36, and Javier Aldo Medina, 38, were released this week from a London hospital and are recovering in a care home, awaiting the arrival of their wives from Peru. But 26-year-old Edgar Sulla Puma remains in critical condition with serious head injuries in a hospital in Hamilton.
With a police investigation ongoing, Mr. Carrion declined to talk about why the van’s driver, his cousin Mr. Blancas, didn’t have the proper licence to operate the 15-passenger vehicle. Mr. Blancas, according to police, failed to yield for the truck driven by Mr. Fulton, who also died in the wreckage.
In Peru, funerals were held this week for the fallen men. Mr. Carrion will at some point travel to Comas to explain what happened. He knows some of the families are angry with him.
“I need to talk to them and say to them how happy they were working for me and how much I’m going to miss them,” he said. “I considered them all my family.”
With reports from Colin Freeze, Stephanie Chambers, Greg McArthur and Kim Mackrael
The ties that bind Alex Carrion and his workers
David Blancas Hernandez, 45, was a cousin.
Mario Abril Paredes, 48, was a cousin.
Jose Valdiviezo Taboada, 49, was a cousin.
Fernando Valdiviezo Correa was also a relative and Mr. Valdiviezo’s son. He worked for MARC Poultry Vaccination Services for one day.
Elvio Suncion Bravo was a cousin of Mr. Carrion’s nephew. He was also on the job for one day.
Cesar Sanchez Palacios, 53, was a brother of Mr. Carrion’s brother-in-law.
Corsino Jaramillo Corzo, 47, was a childhood friend.
Oscar Campomanes Corzo was Mr. Jaramillo’s brother. It was his first day on the job.
Enrique Arenaza Leon, 47, was a friend.
Juan Castillo, 58, was originally from Nicaragua and had lived in Kitchener, Ont., for two decades. Throughout that time, he was Mr. Carrion’s right-hand man.
Javier Aldo Medina, 38, is the son-in-law of a childhood friend. He worked for MARC Poultry for one day.
Juan Jose Ariza, 36, is a friend of the family. It was also his first day on the job.
Edgar Sulla Puma, 26, is the brother-in-law of Mr. Carrion’s immigration consultant.