A pregnant mother of three has died after a semi truck’s wheel hub came loose and smashed into her car’s windshield on an Illinois highway this week, authorities said.
Melinda Cullen, 38, was killed Tuesday afternoon while driving on Interstate 80 near Rowell Avenue in Joliet, according to Illinois State Police.
A truck driver was traveling east on the 80 around 2:18 p.m. when the vehicle’s wheel hub came detached from its rear tractor axle, officials said. The brake drum crossed over into westbound lanes and hit Cullen’s windshield.
She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to KTLA sister station WGN in Chicago.
The driver of the truck, 59-year-old Antanas Sereiva, was charged with a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act violation for “unsafe equipment,” officials said.
A family statement said Cullen valued her time with loved ones and was always there for them.
The family of Melinda Cullen is grateful for the outpouring of support and love that they are receiving during this difficult time. Melinda was a devoted mother of three precious daughters and was expecting her first son, Jaxson in April. This tragic event has affected many, and we are reminded how Melinda always made special time for her family or anyone in need. The family requests for prayers and support as they process the loss of Melinda and her son Jaxson.
Cullen leaves behind a husband and three daughters. Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
The incident is under investigation.