SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A decorated U.S. Army captain and adjunct professor at Missouri State University died when he was struck by a semitractor-trailer while he was helping a stranded motorist, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. Aaron J. Eidem, 37, of Webb City, stopped to help someone whose car had a flat tire Thursday night on Interstate 44, 5 miles west of Springfield. He was standing near the interstate when the truck struck his vehicle, causing it to hit Eidem, the patrol said. Eidem, who had a wife and three children, died later at a Springfield hospital. The truck that hit Eidem's vehicle also struck another car, which crashed into another truck. No one else was injured. Eidem had been on active duty for 20 years and earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, The Springfield News-Leader reported. He also was an adjunct professor and assistant professor of military science at Missouri State since the 2014. Victor Matthews, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Missouri State, described Eidem as a "highly respected leader developer" who had recently been recognized for the quality of his work by the 41 regional Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC programs. Scott Morris, professor of military science, said Eidem's deployments were in Iraq and Germany. He said Eidem was a "subject-matter expert" and effective mentor of students interested in military service. "This is an officer with almost 20 years experience so what he brought to the classroom was exceptional," Morris said.
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