ROCKFORK, Ky. (May 20, 2019) – A Hazard man was killed in Knott County Monday morning after colliding with a commercial vehicle. Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard received calls advising of the crash at 9:09 am. Troopers with Post 13 were dispatched to the scene on KY Highway 80 in the Rockfork community, where they observed a combination tractor and trailer coal truck on fire. A small SUV was also located, with the driver trapped inside but it was not on fire. Troopers were assisted at the scene by KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Knott County Sheriff’s Office, Lifeguard Ambulance, Ball Creek Rescue Squad and Garrett Fire Department.
The initial investigation determined that Danny Kestner was operating a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox on KY 80 when his vehicle crossed into the westbound lanes and collided with a 1998 Mack driven by 68 year old Astor Gross of Manchester. The Equinox struck the fuel tank of the truck resulting in the Mack becoming engulfed in flames. 50 year old Danny Kestner of Hazard was pronounced deceased at the scene by Knott County Coroner Cory Watson. Astor Gross received minor injuries but did not seek medical attention.
Cause for this collision has not yet been determined, though the investigation is ongoing. Seat belts were in use by both drivers and toxicology results from both, which are obtained during fatal crash investigations, are pending. Detective Brandon Thomas with KSP Post 13 is leading this investigation.