A 35-year veteran state trooper died Saturday after being struck by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop about 3 p.m. on southbound Interstate 35 in Temple.
Thomas Nipper, 63, a senior trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety, was pronounced dead at Scott & White Medical Center-Temple.
It is unclear whether Nipper was in his vehicle at the time it was struck from behind by a white Chevrolet pickup. The rear of the trooper’s vehicle caught fire after the crash.
Police said at least three vehicles were involved in the crash. It is unclear how many others were injured, and Temple police and DPS have declined to release further details.
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. Funeral arrangements are pending.
“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,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”
In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott described Nipper as “a dedicated member of Texas’ law enforcement community.”
“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.”