BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WJHL) – A Lee County, Virginia man was killed Tuesday after a tree fell on his truck at a coal mine work site in Kentucky.
A release from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet states that Cecil Collett, 32, of Dryden, was returning to the work area at the Colmar mine in Bell County around 3:30 p.m. The release states Collett was a surface miner/blaster and had started his shift around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Collett was returning in a pickup truck when a tree “fell from the high wall above the roadway and struck the truck as it passed.”
The tree was about 2 feet in diameter, the release states.
Collett was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A passenger, identified as Joshua Pendleton, 45, was also injured when the tree hit the truck. Pendleton is also from Lee County, hailing from the Ewing community.
Pendleton was transported to the same hospital and diagnosed with a broken hip and pelvis, according to the release.
“This miner’s unfortunate death is another reminder of the special dangers that these miners face daily,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear in the release. “Please join me in expressing my deep condolences to his family, friends and community.”
Mining operations ceased following the accident and remain suspended Wednesday while an investigation is conducted.
“Our sympathy goes out to Mr. Collett’s family for his loss,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Rebecca Goodman said in the release. “We will look carefully at what happened, and how it could have been prevented.”
The release notes that the mine is owned by Nally & Hamilton Enterprises Inc.