A 19-year-old on Tuesday admitted to causing an accident on Interstate 70 that killed Greg Hawley, co-owner of the popular Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City.

A 19-year-old on Tuesday admitted to causing an accident on Interstate 70 that killed Greg Hawley, co-owner of the popular Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City.

Edward D. Tseona, Hughesville, Mo., pleaded guilty to a single count of felony involuntary manslaughter.

On the witness stand, Tseona admitted to Jackson County Circuit Judge John Torrence that he “recklessly caused the death” of Hawley, an Independence man.

On Jan. 10, Tseona was driving a red 2005 BMW M3. He rammed the right rear of Hawley’s silver 2001 Ford F-150 on I-70 near the Lee’s Summit exit. They were driving eastbound.

The collision spun Hawley out of control. The truck veered over to the right shoulder. The truck violently rolled several times, according to court papers.

The crash tossed Hawley from the truck. Two hours later, Hawley died at a hospital from head injuries and internal bleeding, according to the documents.

Witnesses told authorities Tseona was racing another car on the interstate when he wrecked Hawley.

The vehicles were cutting in and out of traffic with speeds reaching between 80 to 100 miles per hour, according to documents.

But Tseona told police during questioning that one of the BMW’s tires popped which caused him to cut into Hawley.

His guilty plea nullified that statement.

“He used the highway as his personal raceway,” said David Hawley, Greg’s brother and spokesman for the family, after the 12-minute plea hearing.

Greg Hawley was on his way home from the museum in Kansas City, where he devoted his life to building and maintaining the facility with family and friends.

“He almost made it,” David Hawley said.

A steamboat named “Arabia” in the mid-1850s struck a large walnut tree hidden under the surface of the Missouri River. The boat sank.

In 1987, David found the wreck site more than one-half mile from the river’s edge and buried 45 feet underground. A year later, Greg, David, their dad Bob Hawley, and some family friends excavated Arabia.

A museum was built and the recovered ship was placed inside. Many of the artifacts the ship carried were restored and placed in the museum.

Greg loved to tell visitors of the museum about the Arabia, its fate, and its rescue.

“Everyday, someone comes to the museum and asks about what happened to Greg,” said Florence Hawley, his mother.

And then they could tell them of Greg’s fate, about his wreck.

Tseona was arrested shortly after the crash. He was released on $100,000 bond.

Torrence has wide freedom when it comes to the punishment of Tseona. He could serve one day in jail or 7 years and fines up to $5,000.

The Jackson County prosecutor will not be asking for a sentencing recommendation because there was no plea agreement reached with Tseona. He voluntarily pleaded guilty.

A sentence assessment report will be completed that will give Torrence a range of punishment options. Among the factors the report takes into consideration are criminal history, impact on victims and risk of recidivism.

Torrence has taken fire from Fox News Channel commentator Bill O’Reilly for the judge’s perceived soft sentence regarding a man who he gave probation for pleading guilty to child molestation. The host of “The O’Reilly Factor” has called for Torrence to be removed from the bench.

Torrence has not publicly commented about his decision on that case. The judge has been criticized for other alleged light sentences.

“We’re concerned about it,” David Hawley said of Torrence and his sentences. “I want him (Torrence) to send a message to others who do this stuff on the highway. But nothing is going to bring Greg back.”