• September 23, 2022

Mary Kliethermes Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on Highway 36 near Macon, MO

Macon County, MO — September 22, 2022, 71-year-old Mary Kliethermes died in a rear-end collision with a stopped tractor-trailer on Highway 36 near Macon.

Authorities say the incident happened just after noon along Highway 36, a little over three miles east of town. Preliminary investigation suggests an 18-wheeler reportedly had mechanical problems and the driver had stopped while trying to maneuver onto the shoulder. He told investigators the truck had been stopped in the passing lane for roughly ten seconds when Kliethermes' SUV approached from behind and crashed into the semi-trailer.

Kliethermes was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck's occupants were unhurt.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Mary Kliethermes Accident in Macon County

Reports tell a simplistic story of a car hitting a stopped truck, but even from the few details they currently provided it seems pretty clear that there may be more to the story. Hopefully investigators will ask and answer most (or ideally all) of the lingering questions here.

Here's a few that come to mind right away: If the truck was stopped for mechanical issues in a travel lane, did the trucker put its hazards on? Did the truck come to a stop abruptly or gradually in the road? Did the trailer's brake lights work? What specifically was wrong with the truck? Was it a sudden and totally-unpredictable issue, or did the truck give out after a known problem being ignored for too long? Were there any warnings that something was wrong as the truck traveled earlier that day? If the truck was acting up, why was the driver in the fast/passing lane?

Mary Kliethermes Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on Highway 36 near Macon, MO

I know a lot of that sounds unfairly weighted against the truck driver, so to be clear I'm not pointing accusatory fingers here. I'm only asking that all the potential factors of this crash be properly evaluated. If the truck should already have been on the roadside miles or hours before this collision then that must be given weight when figuring out who or what's to blame for the loss of a woman's life. Will police be thorough enough to consider all the potential factors, or should experts with the right tools and training step in to fill in more blanks?

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