Vernon Helton, a Garrard County businessman and developer, was killed Monday night when he was pinned under a vehicle in his garage, the coroner said.
Helton, 73, of Lancaster was beneath the vehicle when a jack slipped and he was pinned under the car, Garrard County Coroner Daryl Hodge said. Helton died at the scene.
Danny Ayres, a friend and development partner, said Helton was working on a vintage Chevrolet El Camino, a “utility coupe” with a truck bed.
Helton owned the Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken restaurant at Pleasant Retreat Shopping Center south of Lancaster.
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At one time, Helton owned the Western Steer Family Steakhouse in Danville, a popular eating spot, Hodge said.
“His daughters and their friends were the servers,” Hodge said. The restaurant closed some years ago.
Helton also was a developer of subdivisions in Garrard County, including Helton Estates near Bryantsville.
Ayres said he and Helton developed another subdivision called Camp Dick Acres, across from Camp Dick Elementary School north of Lancaster.
“He was a very positive thinker,” Ayres said. “He constantly had a solution. Whatever card you were dealt, he would go with the flow, and he was constantly encouraging, constantly figuring out how to positively affect something.”