LOVELAND, Colo. — Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Loveland woman killed in a tragic accident on I-25 in Mead Monday.
On Tuesday, the woman was identified as 32-year-old Megan Arneson.
Colorado State Patrol said the crash occurred just after 6 p.m. as Arneson traveled north on I-25 behind a semi-truck. The semi was pulling an excavator, which struck the bridge at mile marker 245, causing debris to crash into Arneson's windshield, killing her.
"It's definitely like losing a part of a family. In our centers, we're all very close," Jacqueline Hampton said through tears. "It's a very tight-knit community, and Megan was a really, really big part of that."
Hampton worked with Arneson at the Children's Workshop Early Learning Center in Loveland. Arneson had worked as a teacher at the preschool for five years and was recently promoted to assistant director.
"She was kind of my partner in crime, and [we] went to each other for anything," said Hampton, who serves as director at the preschool.
Hampton said the day the crash happened, Arneson had taken time off to be with her 10-year-old son.
"She actually took the day off so that she could surprise him and take him to Water World," she said. "And so that's what they had been doing in Denver that day and what they were coming back from."
The 10-year-old was in the car at the time of the crash, but only suffered minor injuries.
Those who knew Arneson describe her as private, but also silly and warm. Hampton said Arneson loved being a mother.
"She really cared for the children [at the preschool], and especially for her son and just the people around her. She was constantly giving and spreading love everywhere," Hampton said. "She made all of my days better. When she was gone and had the day off on Monday, I kept thinking how much I missed her and how I was excited to see her on Tuesday."
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to pay for funeral expenses and support Arneson's son.
The driver of the semi-truck has not yet been identified. It is unknown if charges will be filed.