Family Mourns Loss Of Man Killed In Knox County Mine

Just one day after a Laurel County coal miner was killed in an underground rock fall, family and friends are still trying to understand what went wrong.

Joe "Pete" Seay was a roof bolter with 23 years of mining experience. He died inside the D and R Coal Incorporated Mine Number Two in Knox County Friday, marking the 14th mining fatality in Kentucky this year.

Lagail Seay says she, and her three year old daughter Destiny Rochelle, depended upon Joe Pete Seay one hundred percent. Everything from money, to car rides, to love. But Lagail Seay says she doesn't know where to turn now that her husband is gone.

For Seay, 3:30 in the afternoon always meant the same thing, a phone call to her husband Joe "Pete" Seay, as he was coming out of the mines.

"I have done it for 19 years. Everyday at 3:30, I'd call him, probably drove him crazy at the mines, but I didn't care. I wanted to know he was ok," she said.

At 3:30 Friday afternoon, Lagail says she called like clockwork, but didn't get her husband. Instead, Lagail says she only got news that a rock fall killed him in the D and R Coal Number Two Mine three hours earlier.

"Something went wrong somewhere. I don't know and I need to know. I want to know what happened," she said.

Officials with the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet say Seay was struck by a five foot long piece of rock that fell from the roof of the mine as he was operating a roof bolter. But to Lagail, that explanation's not enough. Not when she or their three year old daughter never said goodbye. Not without any more afternoon phone calls.

"I would tell him I love him more. I didn't say that often enough. I don't know what we'll do," she said.

Environmental Public Protection Cabinet officials say the D and R Coal Mine has not had a fatality since they were issued their mine license in 2000, but both federal and state inspectors have cited the mine this past year, for several violations.


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