UPDATE: Bell County mine closed Wednesday following fatal accident

Another man also injured in freak Bell County accident

UPDATE POSTED 8:30 A.M. JAN. 12, 2022

BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Investigators are at a Bell County coal mine Wednesday after a 32-year-old coal miner was killed Tuesday at the Colmar mine, in Colmar. The mine is owned by Nally & Hamilton Enterprises Inc., of Bardstown.

Cecil T. Collett, of Dryden, Virginia, a surface miner/blaster, began his shift at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Collett was returning to the work area in a pickup truck about 3:30 p.m. when a tree approximately 24 inches in diameter fell from the high wall above the roadway and struck the truck as it passed. A passenger in the pickup, 45-year-old excavator operator Joshua Pendleton, of Ewing, Virginia, was injured in the accident.

Both were taken to Middlesboro ARH hospital, where Collett was pronounced dead and Pendleton was diagnosed with a broken hip and pelvis.

“This miner’s unfortunate death is another reminder of the special dangers that these miners face daily,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Please join me in expressing my deep condolences to his family, friends and community.”

All mining operations were shut down after the accident and will continue to be suspended Wednesday while an investigation continues. The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the mine Tuesday afternoon.

“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.”

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 8:30 P.M. JAN. 11, 2022
BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – One man was killed and another injured in a freak accident Tuesday at a coal mine.
According to the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, at about 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, Bell County Deputy Sgt. Frank Foster was dispatched to an incident involving a tree falling on a truck at the Colmar mine site, owned by Nally & Hamilton coal company.
When Foster arrived, he found a Nally & Hamilton pickup with significant damage from the fallen tree and Middlesboro EMS working on 32-year-old Cecil Todd Collett, of Ewing, Va., who had been driving the truck, the sheriff’s department said. Collett was flown to Middlesboro ARH, but pronounced dead at the hospital.
The investigation determined a tree fell from the lose ground from the high wall at the mine site, striking the truck driven by Collett. Another man in the truck was flown from the scene due to injuries and his condition is unknown at this time.
Also assisting on scene was the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department, Sgt. Adam Southern, Deputy Derrick Widener, and Chaplain Rick Dorton.
MHSA is also investigating this incident.
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