TEMPLE, Texas -- The body of fallen Senior DPS Trooper Thomas Nipper returned to Central Texas Sunday afternoon.
The 63-year-old law enforcement officer was making a traffic stop around 3:05 p.m. Saturday on the shoulder of southbound I-35 in Temple when a pickup truck hit his DPS vehicle from behind, causing fatal injuries.
Fellow DPS troopers escorted Nipper's hearse back to Temple on Sunday. As they drove down I-35, they saw a tribute from first responders and towing companies in Troy. An American flag hung off an overpass, as a symbol of respect.
Nipper was the 220th DPS officer to die in the line of duty since 1823. He is survived by his wife and three children.
"I just hope his family and friends see this and know we are thinking and praying for them all," said Melissa Harmon, who took photos of the tribute.
Harmon's husband worked with Nipper's son, who is a police officer for Morgan's Point Resort.
Funeral arrangements for Nipper were pending Sunday.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, condolences may be sent to the address below:
Director Steven McCraw
Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol
5805 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78752
Phone: (512) 424-2000