Home USA Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, Marion Co. deputy killed in helicopter crash

Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, Marion Co. deputy killed in helicopter crash


MARION COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) – Two people were killed in a helicopter crash in Marion County Tuesday afternoon, according to officials.

In a press conference Tuesday night, Tennessee Highway Patrol officials confirmed that one of their troopers and a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy died in the crash.

“While the investigation is ongoing, please give the families their privacies,” a THP spokesperson said. “Today is a very tragic day for law enforcement.”

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office identified the trooper in the crash as Sergeant Lee Russell.

The FAA told WVLT News that a Bell 206 helicopter struck a power line and crashed in a wooded area on Aetna Mountain near Whiteside, Tennessee, around 4:00 p.m. on Aug. 23. Officials said it had been recovered as of Tuesday evening.

Dan Hostetler was heading back to Chattanooga on the interstate when he said he saw a black helicopter flying in circles, describing it as moving “erratically.”

“It kind of dipped a little bit and waggled a little bit then there was a bright flash of light and puff of smoke and 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,” Hostetler said. “I slammed on the breaks and stopped about 2 car lengths from the line.”

A Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesperson confirmed that the helicopter struck the power lines crossing Interstate-24 at mile marker 163, causing them to fall across the roadway.

As a result, I-24 East was closed and I-24 West was reduced to one lane through the area. The spokesperson said that TDOT crews assisted with traffic control.

A crash site was identified on SR-134, so it was also closed on both ends. Both roadways have since reopened, according to TDOT.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation, according to an FAA spokesperson.

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