Trucker featured on NBC’s ‘Today Show’ dies in wreck

| 12/12/2008

A woman featured on NBC’s “Today Show” – in a segment about the nation’s most dangerous jobs – was killed Wednesday, Dec. 10, when her tractor-trailer crashed on Interstate 275 in Knoxville, TN.

Police say they don’t know why Georgia trucker Daren Baird’s truck ran off the highway and smashed through a concrete barrier before going down an embankment. But the Knoxville News Sentinel quotes other drivers as saying the weather was bad in the area, and some drivers were weaving in and out of traffic or passing on the shoulder. Baird was driving a mail truck for McCormick Trucking. At the time of crash, she was pulling an empty trailer.

The 61-year-old Baird gave “Today Show” host Meredith Vieira a ride in her truck this past May. In her interview, Baird told Vieira she drove safely, but could be killed in a wreck.

Vieira paid a tribute to Baird Thursday morning on the show.

“She was a great trucker and a great lady,” Vieira said. “And she said the one thing that sort of got her angry as a truck driver was when there were truck accidents. People said, ‘Well, a truck jackknifed,’ but you never knew the name of the truck driver.

“Well, this one had a name. They all do.”

Baird was a member of Women in Trucking.

She wrote a popular column for the trucking online publication