TEMPLE, Texas -- A Texas state trooper died Saturday after a fiery crash during a traffic stop he was conducting on Interstate 35 in Temple, authorities said.
Thomas Nipper, 63, was on the shoulder of southbound Interstate 35 about 3 p.m. when his car was struck from behind by a pickup. He was taken 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 about 3:15 p.m., spokesman Thomas Pechal told the Temple Daily Telegram.
Scott Taylor of Marble Falls and his fiancée, Carmen Bridges, were among three other people who were treated for injuries, the Telegram reported.
"We have no idea what happened," Taylor told 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. "... The airbags saved our lives."
No other details about the crash have been released.
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.
"Trooper Nipper was a hard-working and selfless man, who proudly served and protected the people of this state," DPS Director Steven McGraw said. "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.
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