Kentucky high school mourns death of graduating senior in vehicle accident

Published 6:02 am Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Kentucky High School mourned the loss of one its graduating seniors even as it planned to hand out diplomas to the Class of 2021.

An automobile accident on Thursday resulted in the death of one member of the Bell County High School graduating class and another being flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in critical condition.

Dalton Hunter, 18, of Middlesboro, died last week in a two-vehicle collision on 19th Street in Middlesboro.

According to a release from Kentucky State Police, KSP Post 10 in Harlan received a call from Middlesboro Police Department at approximately 11:41 p.m. Thursday requesting assistance with a two-vehicle collision on 19th Street. Post 10 Troopers responded to the scene and began an investigation.

The initial investigation indicated a 2004 Nissan Maxima was traveling north on 19th Street. The vehicle crossed the centerline, striking a 2007 Volvo Semi Tractor Trailer head-on. The operator of the vehicle, an 18-year-old female, was transported via air to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment of her injuries. She was listed in critical condition. Hunter was the passenger in the vehicle and was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Bell County Deputy Coroner. The operator and passenger of the Volvo were transported to Middlesboro ARH for minor injuries.

The incident is under investigation by Kentucky State Police Detective Andy Soltess.

The occupants of the Nissan were both members of the 2021 graduating class at Bell County High School. The graduation proceeded as scheduled.

A post on the Bell County High School Facebook page addressed the incident, stating, “Late last night two members of our 2021 graduating class were in an automobile accident.  Tragically one student passed away due to injuries sustained and one is in critical condition. While we mourn the loss of a graduate, his family’s wish is that we continue. Tonight’s graduation will proceed at 7 pm. The Bell County High School family asks for your prayers for the family and friends.”