Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Thomas Nipper, 63, died Saturday after a pickup ran into the back of his patrol car during a traffic stop on an Interstate 35 shoulder in Temple.

Nipper had pulled a car over just south of the Midway Drive exit in Temple about 3 p.m. when a white pickup truck struck the back of his car, said Thomas Pechal, a spokesman for the Temple Fire Department.

"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 press release Saturday night. "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."

He was commissioned as a trooper in January 1983 and is the 220th trooper killed in the line of duty since 1823, according to the press release.

It was not clear if Nipper was in his car or standing nearby when it was hit, Pechal said.

A fire broke out in the rear of the trooper's vehicle, which the fire department extinguished, Pechal said. A third car also was involved in the incident, he said.

Nipper was taken to Scott & White Hospital in Temple, where he was pronounced dead.

One other person was taken to the hospital, while two others declined to be transported, Pechal said. Pechal said five fire and rescue units and four ambulances responded to the incident.

The crash remains under investigation, and no other details about the incident were available Saturday.

Nipper is survived by a wife and three children, and funeral arrangements are pending, according to the DPS press release.

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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