GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - WLOX now has new information in the tragic death of a New Orleans college student, who was killed March 5th after a tire from an 18-wheeler hit her at a rest stop in Gautier.
According to police reports, Margaret Maurer was traveling with two friends on a road trip from New Orleans to Georgia before stopping at a rest stop off of I-10 in Jackson County, just west of the Pascagoula River Bridge.
The dual-wheels rolled through the eastbound lanes and into the rest stop on the south side of the interstate, striking Margaret.
The security guard at the rest stop told police he was at the entrance ramp on his golf cart when he saw an 18-wheeler tire bouncing at a high rate of speed coming through the grass. After seeing the tire bouncing, he heard screams coming from the west side of the parking area.
When police arrived at the scene, a crowd had formed around the victim, and a witness was performing CPR on her. But Acadian Ambulance pronounced her dead at the scene at 1:30 p.m.
The two friends of Maurer were so distraught from witnessing the tragedy, they had to receive medical assistance and were both transported to Singing River Hospital, according to reports.
The dual-wheels are estimated to weigh around 1,000 pounds. The wheels were so heavy that two men could not push them on the ramp of the wrecker, having to use a cable to pull it up.
According to reports, the 18-wheeler was located at the 68 mile marker in Moss Point after the incident. Once he noticed the tires were gone, he continued to the Gautier-Vancleave exit to turn around and go back to find the tires. As he was heading back, he passed the rest stop and noticed the emergency vehicles. He was already passing the rest stop and could not stop in time, so he continued and came to a stop at the 68 mile marker, where he was located.
The 18-wheeler was owned by Dana Transportations.
The driver of the 18-wheeler is not being charged with anything.
“This was equipment failure, not a criminal act,” said Captain Casey Baxter with Gautier police. MDOT took over the investigation regarding the 18-wheeler.
A GoFundMe has been created in memory of Margaret.