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NEWTON, Kan. -- A 27-year-old Kansas man is dead after his SUV was hit by a semi on a stretch of highway in Harvey County early Saturday morning.
The crash happened around 2:15 a.m. on northbound I-135, about three miles south of Newton.
Trooper Ryan Tauer said dispatchers got a call about a Chevy Tahoe stopped in the right lane of traffic. By the time deputies got on scene, the semi had hit the rear of the SUV, causing both vehicles to go into the ditch.
Jeffery R Ely was ejected from his SUV before it "burst into flames," Tauer said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is not yet known why Ely's SUV was stopped in traffic.
Troopers at the scene said Ely lived in the Wichita area, but the official report from the highway patrol lists Lawrence as his city of residence, which is how it appeared on his driver's license.
The 38-year-old driver of the semi was shaken up but not seriously hurt.
"The entire front end of the semi was destroyed," Tauer said. "Debris from the Tahoe was thrown up into the windshield of the semi."