'Gifted' College Student, 21, Killed by Flying Tires in Accident During Spring Break Road Trip
Margaret Maurer was a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans[placeholder]
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March 08, 2019 01:30 AM
A young Tulane University student was tragically killed in a freak accident while at a rest stop in Mississippi.
On Tuesday, 21-year-old Margaret Maurer from Forest Lake, Minnesota, was taking a restroom break during her spring break road trip with friends when she was suddenly struck by a pair of flying tires that came loose from a passing 18-wheeler, Biloxi Sun Herald reportedthis link opens in a new tab.
Maurer was walking back to her car when the tires — which were bolted together and weighed roughly 500 pounds — entered the parking lot area from Interstate 10 eastbound near Gautier.
The tires traveled about 850 feet before hitting her, according to the Gautier Police Department, ABC News reportedthis link opens in a new tab. She was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.
“It’s traumatizing of course for the young ladies that were there and the family,” Capt. Casey Baxter of the Gautier Police Department told ABC News. “It’s heartbreaking for everybody. She was truly a victim.”
It is not immediately clear as to how the tires broke free from the trailer.
Following the incident, the truck driver, who has been identified as a driver for Dana Transports, Inc., turned around to see what happened. Police said they suspect no wrongdoing on the driver’s part, Sun Herald reportedthis link opens in a new tab.
Maurer was a senior at Tulane, where she studied ecology and evolutionary biology.
Tulane’s president Mike Fitts spoke out on Maurer’s tragic deaththis link opens in a new tab describing her as an “extraordinarily gifted student and a leader among her peers,” adding that “she was planning to graduate in May to pursue a career in scientific illustration — a field that combined her sill as a scientist, her incredible artistic talent and her love of nature.”
Maurer’s professor, Thomas Sherry, paid tribute to the late student, calling her a “go-getter.”
In addition to getting to know Maurer academically, Sherry bonded with her on an artistic level as Maurer drew illustrations for his independent book project on birds.
“They’re just spectacular, they’re beautiful,” Sherry told ABC News. “At the very least… we have this incredible memorial to her that I hope to use in various ways to shine a light on what an outstanding student she was.”
Sherry added, “She was a really special person, so it’s all the more painful. I don’t get to know every student as well as I do Meg.”
Maurer’s mother, Tracy Nelson Maurer, also opened up about her daughter’s death telling KSTPthis link opens in a new tab, “I really want to be angry at somebody, but I can’t be. It just happened. It’s absolutely a random, freaky thing. It’s not right. There’s so much that’s wrong about this, but it’s just random.”
Tulane student Margaret Maurer killed by flying tires at Mississippi highway rest stop
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Why Did The Trailer Tires And Entire Wheel Assembly Come Off And Kill Her?
Tulane student who died in a freak accident was a true scholar. ‘Her loss is tremendous.’
By Margaret Baker and
March 06, 2019 07:47 AM,
Updated March 07, 2019 11:08 AM
Read more here: https://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/jackson-county/article227171984.html#storylink=cpy
Minnesota native Margaret “Meg” Maurer had found a home to put her passion for wetlands, science and nature to work when she became one of few selected as a Newcomb scholar at Tulane University in New Orleans.
The 21-year-old native of Forest, Minn., was studying ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane at the time of her death in a freak accident Tuesday at a rest area off Interstate 10 in Jackson County.
“She was going to do an exhibition of her work in the next couple of weeks,” Aidan Smith, the director of the Newcomb Scholars Program, said Wednesday. “We are thinking of still doing that with her artwork.”
“I worked with Meg from the time she was a freshman,” Smith said. “She had so many interests. She loved nature. She loved science. And she was one of the most compassionate and kind people that I’ve had the opportunity to teach. She will missed by both her peers and faculty here. Her loss is tremendous.”
Tulane professor Thomas W. Sherry worked closely with Maurer and called her loss “heartbreaking.”
Maurer had been using her artistic talents to create a series of illustrations for a book Sherry plans to publish on tropical insect-feeding birds.
“We meticulously worked on concepts, sketches, draft pieces, and revisions of each piece of artwork, paying attention to both the biology and the art,” Sherry said. “She (Maurer) had enormous talent, motivation to improve and see better, and curiosity; and we were discussing possible post-graduation options, including schools with biological illustration programs. We were working on an exhibit of her art scheduled for a month from now. She was the top student, by far, in my General Ecology class last year.”Margaret “Meg” Maurer was using her artistic talents to create illustrations for a book Tulane Professor Thomas W. Sherry is working on. At the time of her death, her professor was working on scheduling her for an exhibit of her art works.
Gautier police are investigating Maurer’s death.
She was one of three New Orleans-area college students who had stopped Tuesday afternoon at the rest area between Exit 61 to Gautier and the Pascagoula River Bridge.
Maurer died when she was struck by tires that broke off a tractor trailer traveling westbound on the interstate, police said. She was walking back to her car on the east side of I-10.
The truck’s driver realized something had detached from his tractor trailer, got off the interstate and turned around to find out what had happened.
The driver, identified only as a driver for Dana Transports, Inc., out of Avenel, New Jersey, stopped at Exit 61 (Mississippi 613), where authorities interviewed him.
When police spoke to the driver, Capt. Casey Baxter said, there was no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, including any signs of impairment.
“This is just a horrible event,” Baxter said. “The hearts of everybody at the Gautier Police Department go out to this family. They will be in our prayers.”
A blood draw for toxicology testing on the driver was not performed because no criminal wrongdoing is suspected, Baxter said.
Meanwhile, Tulane officials said, there will be some type of memorial for Maurer in the coming days. The university is out of session this week for spring break.
Prior to her death, Maurer had used her talents to create illustrations about ecology and biology. She was looking forward in the near future to put her talents to work as an illustrator.
“She might do the type of illustrations you find in a science textbook,” Smith said. “She would draw pictures of birds and plants and insects. Her work is really amazing.
“She really did have a passion for wetlands and botanical studies. She really found a home here in the Gulf Coast region. It is really just a shame. Who knows what she would have been able to do?”
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