Archive for Monday, December 13, 1999


December 13, 1999


Traffic on westbound Interstate 70 slowed overnight Saturday after an accident that left two men dead east of Lawrence.

Two men died after their vehicle apparently stopped on the Kansas Turnpike and was struck from behind by a semi-tractor trailer, the Kansas Turnpike Authority said.

Miguel Perez, 35, Glendale, Ariz., and Noel Hernandez, 20, Remco, Mich., died in the accident around 10:40 p.m. Saturday in the westbound lanes of Interstate 70, about nine miles east of the East Lawrence interchange.

A Kansas Turnpike Authority dispatcher said the 1982 two-door Ford the two men were in apparently was stopped on the roadway with its lights off when it was struck from behind by a 2000 model semi.

Both vehicles burst into flames, the dispatcher said.

The driver of the semi, Sterling Burton, 58, Boise, Idaho, suffered burns, the dispatcher said. He was treated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and released.

Hernandez was outside the vehicle on the passenger's side and was struck by the semi, the dispatcher said.

Perez was trapped in the car and burned, the KTA said.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene by the Leavenworth County coroner.

The accident caused traffic to be reduced to one lane into Sunday morning, the dispatcher said, while experts from the Kansas Highway Patrol's Critical Highway Accident Reconstruction Team could investigate.

"We had multiple fire units and rescue squads out there," the dispatcher said.

KHP Trooper J.D. Hall is the lead investigator in the accident, the KTA said.

Authorities don't believe the semi was carrying any hazardous materials, the dispatcher said.

The westbound lanes fully were reopened about 8 a.m. Sunday.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is

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