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Truck driver enters plea in fatal Interstate 81 hit-and-run

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Catherine Long got a call from a trucking company back in January. They had not heard from one of their drivers after he pulled to the side of the road on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County.

Alan D. Kegel.Alan D. Kegel. (Cumberland County Prison)

She and her partner found the truck with a long Amazon trailer. And a short distance away, lying in the grass, they found a body.

Investigators say the driver, Zivko Lakic, of Bronx, New York, had been struck by another truck driver, and on Tuesday, that driver pleaded no contest.

Alan D. Kegel, 57, of Leander, Texas, entered a plea of no contest to one third-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle.

He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 14 before Cumberland County Judge Jessica E. Brewbaker.

According to state police, the investigation and charges came about like this:

On Jan. 13, Long and her partner, Trooper Michael Bruce, spotted Lakic in the grass near his truck. He was covered with lacerations, had no pulse, was not breathing, and was cold to the touch.

But while the troopers were on the side of the road at mile marker 56.2 in Silver Spring Township, they also noticed that Lakic's truck had been damaged on the driver's side and among the debris, they found some pieces that looked like they may have been part of another rig.

They put out a notice for law enforcement to be on the lookout for a black tractor-trailer with damage to the front passenger side, and it was spotted about 30 miles north at the Flying J truck stop on Linglestown Road, West Hanover Township.

It was damaged in the right spot with bodily fluid and material still clinging to the passenger-side tire.

The driver, Kegel, was inside the truck stop, and he told investigators he had been driving north on I-81 from Nashville and was tired and may have fallen asleep when he struck a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder of the highway.

Kegel told police he pulled over further up the road to inspect the damage and, not believing it to be a big deal that he had just sideswiped another truck, continued north on the interstate until he found an area where he could sleep, planning to contact his company's safety officer in the morning to report the damage.

He denied knowing that he had struck someone.

As part of Kegel's plea, the prosecution dismissed charges of accidents involving death or personal injury, criminal attempt to tamper with evidence, and numerous traffic violations.

Source of article click here : PENN LIVE

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