Tragically, its happened again. On Saturday, November 4th, 2017, State Trooper Thomas Nipper was killed when a pickup truck plowed into his patrol car during a traffic stop on I-35 in Temple, Texas. Texas Transportation Code 545.157 (the Texas “Move Over” law) requires motorists to either slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit, or move over one lane, when a police or other emergency vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road. This law make sense, saves lives, and the consequences of failing to obey this law are all too often – deadly.
Service and Sacrifice
Trooper Nipper had been with the DPS since 1983. After a lifetime of service to the department and the men and women of the State of Texas, I know we all join to mourn his tragic and unnecessary death. I understand that we all have places to go, and we’re always in a hurry to get there. I also understand that no one enjoys being pulled over by the police for a traffic violation. What we need to remember is this: No matter how unpleasant the circumstance, those troopers and other law enforcement officers are out there trying to keep all of us safe. I’ve spoken with many troopers and officers about working traffic enforcement, and none of them enjoy having to give a citizen a ticket. On the other hand, they are all passionate about keeping the public safe – which is always the bottom line.
During the course of my career as a car accident attorney in Houston, I’ve had the somber responsibility of representing many of the men and women of law enforcement who were injured while “on the job.” I’ve seen firsthand the pain, frustration, and life altering consequences to these brave officers when struck and injured by a careless motorist. I’ll never forget the conversation I had with one of these officers I represented (now a friend) when he first told me about the night he was rear ended on the freeway at a high rate of speed while working traffic safety. Although my client sustained serious injuries in the collision, his first thoughts after the impact went immediately to the safety and potential injuries sustained by the Defendant driver. Can you believe that? I was, and still am, touched by the selflessness of this officer, and all law enforcement officers who work our streets and highways to keep all of us safe.
Slow Down, Move Over
I’m asking all of you who may read this article, please – if you see a trooper, police car, or other emergency vehicle on the side of the road, please slow down or move over, as it may save a life. The men and women of law enforcement deserve our respect and appreciation for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. What better sign of respect than to go out of our way to do all we can to keep them safe at work so they can go home to the families at the end of their shift. Tragically, Trooper Nipper didn’t have that opportunity at the end of his shift that fateful night. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the first officer to be killed during the course of a traffic stop, but I’m begging all of you – let’s please do all we can to make him the last.
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, call today at (281) 664-6500 or send us an email through our online contact form. Remember, you pay us nothing up front to take your case, and you pay us nothing at all unless and until we’ve won.