State Police said shortly after midnight on Sunday, Bernie Kilgore, 48, of Corbin, was driving a 1994 Toyota Corolla westbound on Bee Creek Road in Whitley County.
Investigators said Kilgore failed to negotiate a curve and crossed the centerline, hitting a utility pole and then a tree head-on.
Kilgore was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police said Kilgore's passenger, Charles D. Clark, 21, of Corbin, was airlifted to UK Hospital in Lexington.
Investigators said Kilgore and Clark were not wearing seat belts.
State Police said alcohol was suspected to be a factor in the deadly accident, which remained under investigation.