TEMPLE, TX(KAUZ) - 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 identified as 63-year-old Thomas Nipper was in his vehicle conducting a traffic stop on I-35 when a Chevrolet pick-up 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.
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 Baylor Scott & White Hospital, 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," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "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 of 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.
According to the Temple Fire Dept., three vehicles were involved in the crash.
One other person was also transported to a hospital. Their condition was not immediately available Saturday. Two other people at the scene refused treatment.
Authorities are still investigating Saturday and trying to find out what exactly happened.
According to OMDP.org, there have been 69 documented fatalities of Texas law enforcement officers who were struck by vehicles. Six of those in the last decade.
The last time this happened to a state trooper was New Years Day 2006.
Trooper Billy Jack Zachary was struck and killed while making a traffic stop on I-20 near Monahans, Texas.