Trucker ‘may have fallen asleep’ before fatal I-81 hit-and-run

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Texas truck driver told police he was fatigued and “may have fallen asleep” before he struck and killed another trucker early Friday on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County.

Alan Kegel, 56, admitted to investigators that he side-swiped the other truck as it was parked on the right shoulder of I-81 in Silver Spring Township. He said he knew there was damage to his truck tractor because debris flew into the cab after the collision broke his passenger side window and mirror, charging documents state.

Alan Kegel (submitted)
Alan Kegel (submitted)

Kegel told police he pulled over farther up the interstate to inspect his truck, but then continued to a truck stop to sleep and report the incident to his company because he believed it “was not a big deal.”

He denied knowing he struck a person, police said.

Police said 24-year-old Zivko Lakic, of Bronx, New York, was standing off the roadway next to his tractor-trailer when he was struck and killed near Exit 57, the exit for Mechanicsburg and Route 114, sometime between 3:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.

Troopers from the Carlisle barracks were dispatched to the area around 6:30 a.m. after Lakic’s company reported it couldn’t contact him. Lakic’s body was lying on the grass area beside the shoulder, and there was damage to his truck tractor and trailer including the front fender, headlamp, and side mirror.

Police were on the lookout for a black truck tractor and semi-trailer with damage when they found Kegel’s truck in Dauphin County, at the Flying J truck stop in West Hanover Township. Investigators said the truck had bodily fluid on the front passenger side tire and metal step area “indicative of striking a pedestrian.”

Kegel is charged with a felony count of accidents involving death or personal injury and seven related summary offenses. He is jailed in Cumberland County Prison on $150,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 30

The crash closed the right northbound lane near Exit 57 for more than three hours. PennDOT traffic cameras showed a six-mile backlog before the scene was cleared.

Editor’s note: Court documents identify the last name of the accused as Kegel, not Kegal as previously reported.

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