By Mark White
For The Mountain Advocate
Emergency officials think a medical emergency may be the reason for a fatal coal truck accident late Thursday morning on Ky. 92E near Mossy Gap.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley pronounced James Gambrel, 59, of Woolum, dead at the scene about noon.
Croley said that Gambrel was driving an 18-wheel Peterbilt semi, which was loaded with coal, east on Ky. 92 near the 21-mile marker when the wreck happened.
“It appears that he possibly had a medical emergency and left the roadway,” Croley said.
Kentucky State Police Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Steve Douglas said Gambrel was driving a 2009 Peterbilt loaded with 43,000 pounds of coal.
Gambrel, who was driving for J&P Contractors out of Barbourville, was hauling the load from the Maple Creek community to the Gatliff Coal Temple.
The vehicle came to rest in a ditch.
Douglas said part of the load spilled out as a result.
Croley said that he wouldn’t be able to give a definitive cause of death until toxicology results are complete. No autopsy has been ordered.
Toxicology tests are routine procedures following fatal accidents. No drug nor alcohol involvement is suspected, Croley noted.
Gambrel was not wearing a seatbelt.
No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Andrew Teaney is also investigating the crash.
Whitley County Sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Shelley and Sgt. Jeff Anderson assisted at the scene along with members of Patterson Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Whitley County EMS.