Trooper and Marion County Commissioner Die Following Helicopter Crash

MARION Co., Tenn. — Two men died in last night’s helicopter crash — Sergeant Lee Russel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Detective Matt Blansett of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

Little is known at this time about Sergeant Russel, but Detective Blansett was a well-known and heavily involved member of the community.

In the passing of Matt Blansett, Marion County has lost both a deputy and a representative. Blansett was a County Commissioner for District Two.

“Matt’s one of the type of guys that would give the shirt off his back to you, if you needed it. If you needed help, call him — he’d be the first one there. Just an outstanding young man. And it’s going to be a great loss for our county.”

Blansett was County Commissioner of eight years.

He served alongside his father, Donald Blansett, and leaves behind a wife and two sons.

“We don’t really know how many lives he may have affected doing his job, helping young people turn their lives around. You know, he was very instrumental in little league baseball with his sons’ program. The people that he put in jail, from time to time, he has helped turn some of those folks lives around, and they’re good productive citizens now.”

Since the crash, numerous friends, neighbors, and law enforcement officials have offered condolences on social media.

Marion County Mayor David Jackson asks for prayers as the community mourns the loss of a public servant.

“It’s just a great loss. It’s just hard to put into words exactly what the loss is to District 2 or to the whole County — not just District 2. Matt may have represented that district but he worked for the whole county.”

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