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Bachelorette party car crash: Tragic chain of events ends in bride-to-be’s death

The bachelorette party car crash that ended with the death of 26-year-old bride-to-be Collette M. Moreno has many readers asking this week “what if?” Only eight minutes before her fatal car crash, Moreno and her maid of honor, Ashley Theobald, were taking a selfie while driving to Moreno’s bachelorette party. As reported by on June 26, the selfie shows two young women happy, in high spirits, and looking forward to a wonderful bachelorette party at the Lake of the Ozarks in Morgan County, Mo.

Bachelorette party car crash: Tragic chain of events ends in bride-to-be’s death
Video Screenshot

While driving southbound on Missouri Highway 5 near Prairie Valley Road on the way to the Lake of the Ozarks on Friday, the two 26-year-old young women enjoyed each other’s company, listened to the music of Taylor Swift, and were simply happy.

Both girls had left work early on Friday so they could get to Moreno’s fun-filled bachelorette party that was scheduled for the weekend. Around 3 p.m., just eight minutes after having taken the “selfie” picture of their happiness, everything came to an end.

While driving southbound on Missouri Highway 5, Theobald’s 2013 Chevy Malibu was behind a truck that was emitting exhaust fumes that became so unbearable that they made Moreno, who suffered from asthma, cough.

In her concern about her friend’s breathing trouble, Theobald tried to get away from the truck and its exhaust fumes by passing it. As reported by Fox4KC, both girls checked to make sure that the road was clear and that they could safely pass the truck.

While the two girls thought that the two-lane road was clear, they didn’t realize that they were approaching a hill. As Theobald was trying to pass the truck, a 1999 Dodge Ram was coming over the hill on the opposite side of the lane.

As soon as they saw each other, Theobald and the driver of the Dodge Ram, 25-year-old Melvin Garber, tried to swerve away but the Dodge Ram struck Theobald’s Chevy Malibu on the passenger’s side where Moreno was sitting.

Since both girls had been wearing their seatbelts, none of their injuries appeared to be initially traumatic. Theobald told reporters. “I was talking to her. She couldn’t talk back but she was nodding at me. I didn’t know it was as bad as it was because she wasn’t physically super beaten-up.”

Theobald sustained minor injuries during the crash. According to the state’s highway patrol, she is facing traffic charges for careless and imprudent driving, but no criminal charges.

Even though the bride-to-be was rushed to University Hospital in Columbia, she died from her injuries at 5:30 p.m.

Jesse Arcobasso, the bride-to-be’s fiance, rushed to the hospital as soon as he heard the news about the tragic accident. Like Collette M. Moreno’s long-time friend Ashley Theobald, their other friends, and their family members, he was left in disbelief when he was told that his bride-to-be had died from her injuries during the accident. “I was just trying to hold on to the fact that she was going to be okay,” he said.

Collette’s mom said on Monday that it all seems like a nightmare. “It felt like a messed-up dream and I needed to wake up from it. And I just couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.”

What if the girls hadn't left work early. What if they didn't have to drive behind a truck that had bad exhaust fumes. What if Collette didn't start coughing. What if they didn't pass. What if there wasn't a hill that they couldn't see. What if there wasn't a car coming over the hill just at the wrong time. What if ...

Collette and Jesse were to be married on July 26 during a dream wedding in Jamaica. Collette has a five-year-old son named Brayden. Like many children, the only question Brayden has is – why?

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