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Driver who hit toll booth might have been asleep

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- The company that hired a Colorado man who died when he his truck hit a toll plaza on the Kansas Turnpike said it appears the man was asleep just before the accident, but the Kansas Highway Patrol said the cause of the wreck is still under investigation.

Sergiy Angelchev, 30, of Auroro, Colo., died Saturday when his tractor-trailer hit the toll booth on westbound Interstate 70 in Leavenworth County. A passenger, Roman Ilyaich, 25, also of Aurora, Colo., remains hospitalized in critical condition. The toll plaza was not staffed at the time.

Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Lt. Mark Christesen said Tuesday investigators were still trying to determine what caused the accident, which "completely smashed" a tollbooth and damaged the plaza's canopy, concrete barricades and electrical equipment. The truck's cab wrapped around the tollbooth and its engine landed about 50 yards away. Hundreds of garden hoses in the truck were strewn across the crash site.

Photos taken just before the accident appeared to show Angelchev asleep at the wheel, Val Konan, his manager for Eastern Freight Solutions, told The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/QF9MHP ).

Angelchev was on his first cross-country trip from California to New York for Eastern Freight Solutions and had driven about 955 miles in two days on the return trip, Konan said Tuesday. Konan said he did not know of any prior accidents attributed to Angelchev during his previous work for several trucking companies.

Konan said he was surprised to hear Angelchev may have fallen asleep. He had stopped in Tennessee after leaving New York and "shouldn't have been tired at all," Konan said. "He was rested."

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com