Louisiana student killed by freak tire accident at rest stop

GAUTIER, Miss. — A 21-year-old college student was killed Tuesday at a Mississippi truck stop when she was struck by tires that came loose from a passing tractor-trailer, police said.

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Margaret "Meg" Maurer, a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans, was traveling with two friends for a spring break trip when the group stopped at a rest stop near Gautier, Mississippi, ABC News reported. The three were heading to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, The Advocate reported.

An 18-wheeler was driving westbound on I-10 when its rear tire assembly became dislodged, Gautier police Capt. Casey Baxter told The Advocate. The two wheels, bolted together, crossed the eastbound lanes and continued into the rest stop, hitting Maurer as she was preparing to get back into the car she was traveling in.

Maurer was pronounced dead at the scene, according to ABC News.

The driver of the tractor-trailer wasn’t injured.

"It’s just something I would never have fathomed happening. It’s a series of unfortunate events that led to a tragedy of this young lady losing her life," Baxter said.

Tulane University issued a statement on Maurer’s death that said, in part, “Meg, a 2019 Newcomb Scholar who had studied abroad in Ecuador, was an extraordinarily gifted student and a leader among her peers. She was planning to graduate in May to pursue a career in scientific illustration – a field that combined her skill as a scientist, her incredible artistic talent and her love of nature.”

The statement noted that Maurer's death followed the Saturday night death of Tulane Law graduate David Hynes, who was killed by a suspected drunken driver.