Megan Arneson Dead, Child Injured in Crash with Excavator on I-25 near Mead, CO
Mead, CO — August 8, 2022, 32-year-old Megan Arneson died and a child was injured after a big rig's cargo hit a bridge near them on I-25 in Weld County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 6:05 p.m. along northbound I-25 near County Road 34. Preliminary investigation suggests a big rig was hauling a large piece of excavation equipment when it passed beneath a bridge. The trackhoe-style excavator hit the bridge as the truck went underneath, knocking the equipment off the bed and causing it to overturn on the highway.
Arneson was driving a Honda SUV that somehow became involved in the accident. It's unclear if the excavator landed on the SUV or if the Honda struck it after it fell in the road. She and a child in the SUV were transported to area hospitals; Arneson died of her injuries a short time later.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Megan Arneson Accident on I-25 in Weld County
At first glance this may sound pretty open-and-shut. The truck's cargo was too tall for the overpass, which to most folks would probably imply that the trucker and his employers are to blame for misjudging the dimensions. Since the truck driver went under the bridge with too low a clearance for its freight, the company has to take responsibility for the damage done...right?
As it happens, truck wrecks are pretty much never that simple. Most trucking companies have teams of professionals working on their behalf to get them off the hook after wrecks like this, and I doubt this instance is the exception. I wouldn't be surprised to see fingers pointed anywhere else but at the driver.
For example, the company could say that the bridge's clearance wasn't marked properly. That's unlikely but not impossible, which means it would have to be disproven. Will the state jump to the victims' aid by proving the claim wrong? Probably not. They'll mostly be focused on charging the truck driver if needed and fixing the damage to the bridge. Finding evidence that the truck driver just screwed up would still fall to the victims and whatever allies they round up to help them prove their side of the story.
If they're feeling punchy, the company could also try to blame the victim for the crash. Some may not see how that'd be possible, but among their "greatest hits" defenses trucking attorneys often try to say that victims could have avoided obstacles like that excavator if they had been paying attention, or if they hadn't been speeding, or if they didn't use "faulty evasive maneuvers." It's cold-blooded to blame the woman who tragically lost her life, but defense isn't timid about doing what it has to in defense of its client.
These are just a few of the possible hurdles that victims and families tend to find in their way after a commercial truck accident. It's entirely possible to overcome them, but the right steps must be taken as soon as possible to make sure that's doable.