**UPDATE** Marion County Deputy and Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Killed in Helicopter Crash

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Marion County Mayor, David Jackson has announced that the Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy who was killed in the helicopter accident was Deputy Matt Blansett. Blansett also served as a Commissioner in Marion County.

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Tragedy struck the Marion County area as a Bell 206 helicopter, carrying a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer and Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy, struck a power line over Aetna Mountain on Tuesday afternoon.

Sergeant Lee Russel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and a Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy, who is so far unnamed, were killed in the crash.

Dan Hostetler, an eyewitness to the tragedy told reporters that the black helicopter was flying in circles, erratically. “It kind of dipped a little bit, then there was a bright flash of light and puff of smoke. It hit one of the power lines that went across the highway, and sure enough the power lines started gliding down toward me and all I could think was it’s going to land on top of me,” said Hostetler; who applied his breaks and stopped roughly two car lengths from the power line.

“While the investigation is ongoing, please give the families their privacy,” said a Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson.

 

by Orey Yates