Former Tennessee Democratic leader dies after jet ski accident

Published 3:08 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Former Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Roy Herron died on Sunday at the age of 69 more than a week after a jet ski accident on Kentucky Lake.

Herron was reportedly transported by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, according to WSMV-TV.

Email newsletter signup

“Roy Herron was a dedicated and joyful warrior for the causes he held dear,” said Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis. “Behind that warm smile, he was as tenacious as they come and never better than when he was fighting for public schools, affordable healthcare and working families.”

Herron, from Dresden, was a member of Tennessee’s House and Senate from 1986 to 2012 before becoming party chair. He was in the Senate, representing District 24, for his final 16 years in the Legislature.

“Roy loved his family and loved representing his neighbors in West Tennessee,” House Minority Leader Karen Camper said. “He always considered it an honor to be their voice in Nashville. He was also a God-fearing man who wrote books advising on how Christians can also serve in politics.”

In a similar incident also in Kentucky, two teenage brothers from Northern Kentucky were killed on Lake Cumberland Friday afternoon in a collision involving a jet ski and a boat.

Pulaski County Coroner Clyde Strunk confirmed the deaths, saying the accident happened sometime around 12:30 p.m. Friday. His office received a call to respond to the Woodson Bend Boat Dock at 1:23 p.m.

Strunk says the victims, Cole Fischer, 14, and Chase Fischer, 18, both lived in Villa Hills. Strunk said that the two victims had been on the jet ski.

They were the sons of Fischer Homes Chairman Greg Fischer.

“The Fischer Homes family is mourning the tragic and profound loss of Chase and Cole Fischer. Our deepest condolences are with their parents, Greg and Amy Fischer, their sister, and their grandparents, Henry and Elaine Fischer. The Fischer group has always been a company about family, and our team is grieving with and praying for the entire Fischer family. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

The bodies were transported to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. Strunk said the occupants of the boat were injured in the accident.

He said that while speed may have been a factor in the collision, no alcohol, drugs or foul play were involved.

“It was just a tragic accident,” he said.