MORGAN COUNTY, MO – A 26-year-old old Lee’s Summit woman was killed in a car crash while she was traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks for her bachelorette party.
Collette M. Moreno died at University Hospital in Columbia from her injuries. She was a passenger in a car that was trying to pass a second car when it collided with an oncoming car.
Moreno was wearing a seat belt.
Ashley M. Theobald, the bride’s friend and the driver in Friday’s crash, said she was trying to pass a semi whose exhaust fumes were causing Moreno to have an asthmatic reaction. She sobbed Monday as she spoke about the love she had for her friend.
The crash was reported at 2:52 p.m. Friday at Missouri Highway 5 and Prairie Valley Road in Morgan County.
Theobald, 26, of Kansas City, was driving a 2013 Chevy Malibu southbound when she attempted to pass another vehicle, according to a Missouri Highway Patrol report.
This occurred as Melvin E. Garber, 25, of Versailles, MO, was cresting a hill in his 1999 Dodge Ram. As the cars headed toward each other, both drivers swerved to avoid a collision.
The Dodge struck the passenger side of the Malibu, which then traveled off the left side of the road and crashed. The Ram traveled on the right side of the road and crashed.
Theobald was also wearing a seat belt and suffered minor injuries. She was treated at University Hospital. Garber was wearing a seat belt and did not suffer serious injuries. The Missouri Highway Patrol said Theobald will face no charges.
The two women had left the Kansas City area late Friday morning. Theobald had excitedly posted on Facebook about getting off work early to start the bachelorette weekend.
Just eight minutes before the crash, Moreno took a selfie of the two women having a great time in the vehicle.
Theobald said they got stuck behind a big truck.
“She had bad asthma and there was a truck in front of us that was releasing a lot of exhaust,” Theobald recalled. “She started coughing.”
That’s when Theobald decided to pass on the two-lane road.
“We both thought it was clear and there was a hill that neither one of us saw,” she said as she broke down. “I tried to go around and there was a truck coming and I swerved and he swerved with me.”
Moreno’s death has devastated her friends, family and co-workers at the doctor’s office where she was an office assistant. But among those grieving the most are her fiance, Jesse Arcobasso, and her 5-year-old son, Braden.
Moreno and Arcobasso were to get married next month. He proposed a year ago at Crown Center through a caricature artist.
Arcobasso broke down as he discussed his love for Moreno and the difficulty in trying to explain to her son why his Mommy isn’t coming home.
“He doesn’t quite understand everything just yet,” Arcobasso said. “I know it’s going to take time.”
Moreno’s mother and much of her family are in California. Braden’s father lives in the Kansas City area. Braden lived with Moreno and her fiance.
A website has been set up to help raise funds to pay for Moreno’s funeral and for her family’s travel costs to come to Missouri. Click here for more information.
In addition, a fund has been set up to pay for Braden’s future expenses including his education.
“It’s for him. It’s for Braden – for living, for school, for clothes, for everything that she wanted for him,” Arcobasso said.
Donations can be made to the Collette Moreno-Arcobasso Memorial Fund at Bank of the West, 229 SE Topaz Dr., Lee’s Summit, MO 64063.