Feds Reclassify 2005 Death as a Mining Accident

November 13, 2007

A coal truck crash that killed the driver in 2005 has been reclassified as a mining accident, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said.

As a result, the agency plans to publish a report on the death of Chad Cook, according to spokeswoman Amy Louviere. Cook, 25, was killed when the truck in which he was hauling a load of coal from Mettiki Coal’s prep plant in Maryland hit a guardrail along the Grant-Tucker county line on Nov. 8, 2005.

MSHA and the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training left the investigation to the State Police at the time because the accident was believed to have occurred off mine property. Both agencies reconsidered and began investigating last April.

MSHA has decided to count the death as a reportable accident in its statistics, Louviere said in a statement issued last week. “The administrator found that the agency had jurisdiction over the haulage road,” Louviere said.

Cook’s mother, Gay Cook, said she’s still frustrated that MSHA “can just let things ride like this.”

Based on MSHA statistics, counting Cook will increase the number of coal mine fatalities in 2005 to 23. There have been 27 coal mining fatalities thus far this year.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training also has included the death of Cook in its statistics for 2005, though it has not issued a report on the accident.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette,

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