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Missing $3 part caused wheels to fall off truck, killing Minnesotan

Margaret Maurer was killed in the freak incident in Mississippi.

The death of a 21-year-old Minnesota native was the result of a missing part that caused two wheels to fall off a tractor-trailer in Mississippi.

That's according to the New Orleans Advocate, which citing a Mississippi Department of Transportation official reports that a missing $3 locking washer likely caused the freak incident that killed Margaret Maurer.

Two wheels fell from an 18-wheeler and bounced into a rest stop along I-10 near Gautier, Mississippi earlier this month.

Maurer, a Forest Lake native who was studying at Tulane University in New Orleans, was hit by one of the wheels, causing her fatal injuries.

The locking ring is designed to keep the wheels tightly secured, and was found to be missing following a state inspection, the Advocate notes.

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Maurer was with friends heading to Georgia to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains during spring break when the accident happened, according to a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $16,000.

She was due to graduate from Tulane in May with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, and "cared deeply about conservation and indigenous peoples."

The money raised from the campaign will "honor her passions" for conservation, plants, language and scholarship.

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