Alexia Fernandez
March 08, 2018 10:45 PM

A pregnant Illinois woman was killed after a semi truck’s wheel hub came loose and flew into her windshield.

Melinda Cullen, 38, died on Tuesday while driving on Interstate 80 near Joliet, Illinois, according to KTLA. Her unborn son, Jaxson Cash Cullen, was also killed in the crash, according to her obituary.

Cullen, who was a mother of three, was due to give birth in 10 days, according to ABC 7 Chicago. She was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead, the outlet reported.

Charles Cullen and Peggy Bingham, her parents-in-law, told the outlet they last saw her on Sunday.

“We would give anything to not see this happened,” he said. “We just lost so much. You don’t expect something like this here, how it happened. She was just in that place at that time.”

Melinda Cullen

“She was just a sweet girl,” Bingham said. “I can’t believe that she is gone. That baby. I was hoping that baby would make it, it would have meant a lot.”

The driver of the truck, 59-year-old Antanas Sereiva, was charged with a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act violation for “unsafe equipment,” according to the outlet.

Joliet Patch reported a preliminary investigation by the Illinois State Police revealed that the truck’s wheel rim had become detached from its rear axle causing it to land on Cullen’s windshield.

Melinda Cullen

Cullen’s obituary detailed her life, including her bachelor’s in communications from Southern Illinois University.

Her obituary described her as “a woman of strong will,” adding, “Melinda loved to cook and had a smile that could lighten up any room. She also made special time for her family or anyone in need. Family was of utmost importance to her, and she will most be remembered as a devoted mother that leaves behind a beautiful family that will miss her very much.”

Cullen’s funeral will be held on March 10 in Coal City, Illinois. She is survived by her husband, Dave Cullen, and their three daughters, aged 8, 5 and 15 months.

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