A 30-year-old Aurora, Colo., man was identified as the driver killed early Saturday morning after his tractor-trailer crashed into a Kansas Turnpike tollbooth at the eastern terminal exit on westbound Interstate 70 near Tonganoxie.
Sergiy Angelchev died at the scene of the crash, which occurred just before 3 a.m., according to a Kansas Turnpike Authority accident report.
A turnpike authority official said Saturday that a passenger, Roman Ilyaich, 25, of Aurora, Colo., is in critical condition after being airlifted to Kansas University Hospital.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said the truck hit the tollbooth at highway speeds, never slowing down before crashing. The truck’s cab wrapped around the tollbooth and the engine landed about 50 yards away. Tollbooths at that interchange are not staffed.
As of Saturday night, turnpike officials said only one westbound lane at the terminal was closed because of the accident investigation. On Saturday afternoon, the turnpike authority directed traffic through the booth’s K-tag lane as it worked to remove debris from the tollbooth area.
The turnpike authority did not release information about the truck crew’s employer. The truck was hauling garden hoses when it crashed and hundreds were strewn across a 50-yard area near the crash site.
The westbound toll plaza’s center cement barriers are demolished and there are no skid marks on the road. The cab appears to have split the barriers and wrapped itself around the tollbooth.
This story was first reported by Journal-World partner Operation 100 News.
Firefighters and medics were dispatched to the toll plaza at 3:04 a.m. Troopers arrived to report one person, later identified as Angelchev, had been ejected from the truck and was unconscious. A second injured person, Ilyaich, was inside the truck cab with critical injuries.
A LifeStar helicopter landed in the eastbound lanes of I-70, temporarily blocking several lanes through the toll plaza. Those lanes reopened around 4 a.m. All westbound lanes were closed for a time, re-opened about 5:45 a.m., then closed again about noon for the investigation.