Fiancé, driver speak out after woman killed en route to bachelorette party

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Collette M. Moreno and Jesse Arcobasso (KCTV)

MORGAN COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) — A 26-year-old Missouri 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.


Collette M. Moreno moments before she died in a tragic crash (KCTV)

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.


Ashley M. Theobald and Collette M. Moreno (KCTV)

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.”


Collette M. Moreno and her son Braden (KCTV)

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.”

8aMoreno’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.


  • Taylor

    I am sorry that this happened but I am a 22 year old now single, stay at home mother of two kids under 3 years old after my husband died in his sleep late May and I have no source of income and have been struggling so why did this story get news recognition and have some big fund set up to help them? What about others such as me and my family.

    • FaithC

      Why aren’t you collecting SS benefits for your two children. You are allowed to collect because their father died. Food stamps, WIC, housing, welfare? You are not collecting any of these?

      • tony

        People always want to gain off of someone death. Its pathetic they asking for education funds too. Where is the life insurance going? Was there a life insurance policy?

      • ItsMYopinion

        I am a life insurance agent. Life insurance is VERY important to me and I try to express the importance of it to my customers. Sadly lots of people can’t afford it and they don’t look at it as a necessity. I believe all people need life insurance. Not everyone thinks that way though.

      • Courtney

        You sound like a bitchy selfish child who shouldn’t have been married or had children in the first place. To look at this article and only think of yourself shows immaturity and selfishness. I’m not saying that what happened to you was not tragic but to post something like that was inapropriate.

    • bmilt

      This is in the news because it’s kind of an ironic situation, to be killed on the way to your Bachelorette party. Everyone that passes doesn’t get a news story and fund set up to help them . You can set up your own fund. The last thing to do in any situation like this is to pull a “what about me?”

    • Amanda

      So you think you’re entitled to a fund because your kids father died? No. That’s not how it works. You sound selfish as hell. This family is going through a lot and all you care about is why you aren’t getting money too? What the hell is wrong with you? If you want money so bad there are sites where you can set up your own fund. Sorry for your loss but stop being so selfish.

  • pattym

    I pray for all of you , I lost my husband and best friend in 1997. Our children were 4 and 6, so I know how hard it is to be a single mom and I am still single, he was and still is the LOVE of my life!

  • tony

    Why a fund raiser?!? !? She didn’t have life insurance? Why can’t the day pay for his son future education like every other hard working american is trying to do. Asking extra for a hand out is pathetic

  • Me,Myself and I

    This is a sad story. It is important to know that backing away from a vehicle which is giving off exhaust fumes and to turn off the vent or flip the recirculate button would help keep the air clean inside the car. The little boy is eligible for social security until he is 18.

  • b

    The picture explains a lot. Taking a picture and not paying attention is unsafe. I wonder if they were behind the truck when the picture was taken. I guess MO don’t have no passing near hillcrest laws like we have in NC. She probably didn’t see the see the dodge truck or the hillcrest because of the Tractor -.trailer. You need a lot of distance to pass a tractor trailer depending on the trucks speed. They were in a hurry to get to the party and didn’t look for a safe place to pass. The purpose for warning signs an no passing marked center lines is to prevent this type of collision from occuring.

  • Jeff

    Wow some cold hearted people up in here maybe the folks didn’t know about ssi and all maybe someone set up the fund besides them

  • Tracey

    She was trying to go around because her friend had asthma and she was breathing in the fumes from the truck. There was a hill and they werent able to see anything coming, they didnt know about the hill from what I read. Its a sad story and everyone needs to leave their hateful comments out of this. There are people suffering from her death,especially her child. Lets show some compassion people.

  • WH

    Regardless of why they were passing, it was careless to pass there, it put everybody involved in danger of dying and unfortunately one of them did. Just a couple of days ago somebody passed me and the car in front of me on a solid yellow line forcing a van in the oncoming lane to swerve off the side of the road. Passing on a hill is even dumber. It’s sad that this boy doesn’t have a mom now because of a stupid decision by the girl driving.

Comments are closed.