A Texas DPS trooper struck by a vehicle in Temple on Saturday has died, according to DPS officials.
Texas DPS Sgt. David Roberts said the trooper, who has been identified as 63-year-old Thomas Nipper, was in his vehicle conducting a traffic stop on I-35 when a 2017 Chevrolet pickup truck struck the rear of the trooper's unit.
The traffic stop happened just after 3 p.m. on the southbound shoulder of the interstate near mile marker 296. Trooper Nipper has stopped a 2008 Mazda driven by 21-year-old Nomar Torres. Torres was taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center with non-incapacitating injuries.
Temple Fire Dept. spokesman Thomas Pechal said the trooper's car was on fire when the first fire units arrived.
Roberts said the trooper was transported to Scott & White Medical Center Temple, where he was pronounced dead.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must notify our fellow Texans that State Trooper Thomas Nipper died in the line of duty today,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Today Texas and our DPS family lost one of our finest. Trooper Nipper was a hard-working and selfless man, who proudly served and protected the people of this state. His commitment to duty and his sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”
Trooper Nipper was commissioned as a trooper in January 1983, and he was stationed in Temple. He is the 220th DPS officer to die in the line of duty since 1823. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Three vehicles were involved in the crash, Pechal said.
The driver of the pickup truck 44-year-old Scott Taylor was also transported to the hospital with non-incapacitating injuries, DPS said. The passenger of the pickup 45-year-old Carmen Bridges also refused treatment.
Authorities were still investigating and trying to find out exactly what happened.
Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement:
Trooper Nipper was a dedicated member of Texas' law enforcement community, and like his fellow officers, I am saddened to learn of his tragic death. The men and women who make the commitment to keeping us safe are every day heroes, and we should always remember the risks and sacrifices they make to serve their fellow Texans. Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in keeping Trooper Nipper, his family, and all those close to him in our thoughts and prayers. May God grant them peace and comfort during this difficult time.
According to ODMP.org, there have been 69 documented fatalities of Texas law enforcement officers who were struck by vehicles. Six of those were in the last decade.
The last time this happened to a state trooper was New Years Day of 2006.
Trooper Billy Jack Zachary was struck and killed while making a traffic stop on I-20 near Monahans, Texas.
Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.