Kentucky State Police Sgt. Micky Hatmaker said Jason Chafin, 26, of Lenoir City, Tenn., was traveling south on U.S. 119 on Sukey Ridge when he apparently lost control of a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass he was operating.
The Harlan County Rescue Squad responded to the scene with their crash truck and a fire engine. Squad members and LifeCare Ambulance Service personnel removed Chafin from the vehicle.
Chafin was transported by LifeCare to Harlan's Tucker-Guthrie Airport, where he was airlifted by Wings Air Rescue to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
Hatmaker said the cause of the crash has not been determined and is still under investigation, but alcohol involvement is suspected.
The vehicle crossed the northbound lane and struck a cliff embankment before coming to a rest off the northbound shoulder.
Chafin was still in critical condition at presstime.
Hatmaker was assisted at the scene by KSP trooper Rob Farley.