The collision occurred when Gerald Hensley, 34, Cawood, was traveling north in a white 1995 Jeep Cherokee, lost control and crossed the center line traveling sideways in the south-bound lane, according to a report from the Kentucky State Police. His vehicle struck a black 1996 Jeep Cherokee traveling south. The impact sent the white Jeep into the highwall cliff facing south, and the black Jeep came to rest facing the cliff, off the south-bound shoulder.
Hensley, who was the driver of the white Jeep, was pronounced dead at the scene by Harlan County Coroner Philip Bianchi. Hensley was pinned inside the vehicle and had to be extricated by the Harlan County Rescue Squad.
Debra Dillman, 40, Dayhoit, was the driver of the black Jeep. She and passenger Cletus Robbins Jr., 49, Lejunior, were removed from the vehicle by the Harlan County Rescue Squad and transported to Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital. They were later airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center, Kingsport, Tenn. where they are reported to be in stable condition. Robbins and Dillman were reported to have multiple injuries, according to Jimmy Halcomb.
Gary Brian Miniard, 18, also a passenger in the black Jeep, was transported to Harlan ARH and later died.
Investigating the accident is KSP officer Jimmy Halcomb, assisted by KSP sergeants P.J. Burnett and Damon Gayheart, troopers Jim T. Whitaker and Marcus Williams, and sheriff's deputies Scottie Sizemore, Jayson Howard and Jason Snelling.
The Harlan County Rescue Squad and a Life-Care ambulance also assisted at the scene.
The smell of alcohol was strong at the scene, but officials have yet to confirm if alcohol was involved in the accident.
Halcomb said lab results will later reveal if alcohol or drugs was a factor in causing the accident.