One miner killed, another hurt by falling tree

Vigil light, candle with the miner belongings (helmet, shovel, belt) after the fatal accident in the mine

PINEVILLE, Ky. — One mine worker was killed and another injured by a falling tree at an Eastern Kentucky surface mine, officials said.

Cecil T. Collett, 32, of Dryden, Virginia, was driving a pickup truck at the Colmar mine in Bell County on Tuesday when a tree fell from the high wall above the roadway and struck the vehicle as it passed, a statement from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said.

Collett and his passenger, Joshua Pendleton, 45, of Ewing, Virginia, were both taken to a local hospital. Collett was pronounced dead and Pendleton suffered a broken hip and pelvis, the statement said.

All mining operations at the site owned by Nally & Hamilton Enterprises Inc. of Bardstown were shut down and will continue to be suspended Wednesday while an investigation continues, state officials said.

“Our sympathy goes out to Mr. Collett’s family for their loss,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Rebecca Goodman said. “We will look carefully at what happened, and how it could have been prevented.”