Texas trooper dies in fiery crash while conducting traffic stop

The trooper is survived by his wife and three children

Duty Death: Thomas Nipper - [Temple, Texas]

End of Service: 11/04/2017

By Eline de Bruijn
The Dallas Morning News

TEMPLE, Texas — A State Trooper died Saturday in a fiery crash after he was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 35 in Temple and was struck from behind, authorities said.

Thomas Nipper, 63, was on the southbound shoulder of I-35 about 3:05 p.m. when he was struck by a Chevrolet pickup, authorities said in a news release. Nipper was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Nipper's patrol car was on fire when a Temple Fire and Rescue unit arrived at 3:12 p.m., spokesman Thomas Pechal said to the Temple Daily Telegram. Four people, including Nipper, were medically treated in the crash, the Telegram reported. 

Scott Taylor of Marble Falls and his fiancée Carmen Bridges were riding in a white 2017 Chevrolet truck in the left lane when the accident happened, they told the Telegram.

"We have no idea what happened," Taylor said to the newspaper. "We were in the left lane. As far as I know that was the last thing I remember, then us rolling."

"I didn't even know we hit a car," he said.

They both suffered chest pain, but didn't want to leave their Chihuahua puppy, Faith and their other dog that they had lost track of, a mastiff-boxer mix named Jackson, the Telegram reported.  

"We were grateful," he said to the newspaper. "The airbags saved our lives."

Nipper is survived by his wife and three children. He was commissioned as a Trooper in January 1983 and was stationed in Temple. He is the 220th Texas Department of Public Safety officer to die in the line of duty since 1823, authorities said.

“It is with 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.”

Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement Saturday:

"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."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The crash is under investigation and no other details were available, authorities said.

©2017 The Dallas Morning News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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