Coal Company Charged With Making Road Unsafe

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

An Eastern Kentucky coal company is facing a charge of wanton endangerment over accusations that its workers are creating dangerous driving conditions on a local road.

We've had very little rain in the mountains recently, but people living in Lost Creek say a small strip of Highway 1146 is nearly always wet.

"They water it down on a continuous basis, almost on an hourly basis which creates a lot of mud and it's treacherous driving," said David Jones.

Frasure Creek Coal, LLC began surface mining in the area in January and the Perry County grand jury decided, since then, the company has also made it's entrance to Highway 1146 more dangerous for drivers.

Eddie Campbell owns a gas station at the end of the road. Campbell says he and other neighbors personally tried to talk to company officials about the mess several weeks ago, only to be turned away.

"Our business has been affected rather drastically. Customers don't want to wade through this," Campbell said.

The indictment claims the water truck has even forced drivers to pass in dangerous spots, but residents say it could all be avoided with a few changes.

"They could blacktop the road, put a washer on there and wash their wheels, I think they should put a sweeper on the road," Jones said.

Jones says they don't want to shut down the mine, just the mess.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Caylor says companies are required to water haul roads, but he believes this watering was overzealous.

"I'd like to apologize on behalf of the entire industry. This just should not have happened," Caylor said.

The company was indicted for wanton endangerment, a misdemeanor.

Frasure Creek Coal, LLC is a branch of Trinity Coal in West Virginia.

Officials had no comment.

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