Authorities are investigating whether alcohol, a medical condition or a combination of the two may have contributed to a two-vehicle accident that killed two people Saturday on the western leg of Kansas Highway 10.
Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper Terry Berner said Sunday that Daniel J. Harpool, 51, of Lake Lotawana, Mo., was not passing another vehicle when his eastbound SUV crossed the center line and struck a pickup truck driven by Allen L. Eastland, 59, of Lawrence. Berner also said there were not any skidmarks in the roadway.
Both vehicles were fully engulfed in flames when emergency crews responded about 7:45 p.m. to the scene on K-10 west of the highway's intersection with Wakarusa Drive.
Berner said autopsy results are pending.
Eastland, an employee of Kansas University for about 15 years, was returning home from Spring Hill, where he had been doing farm work for his father, when the accident occurred, Pam Morris, who lived with Eastland, said Sunday.
Morris said Eastland, who worked in student housing at KU, was a big-hearted man and a jokester.
"He just liked to make people laugh," she said. "He was always happy."
On Thursday, 21-year-old James Keeton was killed when the car he was driving collided with another. That accident occurred in the same area as Saturday's accident. The driver of the second car, Maria Thorson, 25, was seriously injured.
Berner said that western leg of K-10, a two-lane, nondivided highway, is not a site of frequent accidents. "That portion of the highway is usually pretty quiet," he said. "What we've been experiencing here lately is really kind of out of the norm."
K-10 east of Lawrence has also had some serious accidents in the past week. On Monday, Eudora resident Helen Moorhead was killed in a two-vehicle accident, which also seriously injured Errin Lang, 38, the driver of the second car. On Wednesday, a two-vehicle accident on K-10 east of Lawrence sent Stephanie Rush, 23, of Eskridge, to Overland Park Regional Medical Center with injuries.