BELTON — Almost two years after the death of a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, a Marble Falls man is expected enter a plea in the case.
Scott Douglas Taylor is scheduled to enter a plea Aug. 30 in the death of Texas Department of Public Safety Senior Trooper Thomas Nipper, who died in a fiery crash on Interstate 35 in Temple on Nov. 4, 2017.
Taylor was set Thursday morning for a pretrial hearing in Bell County’s 264th District Court with Judge Paul LePak officiating.
He was charged and indicted in May 2018 for criminally negligent homicide in Nipper’s death. The offense he will plead to is a state jail felony.
If convicted, Taylor could be sentenced from 180 days up to 2 years in state jail with a fine of up to $10,000, according to the Texas Penal Code.
A vehicle driven by Taylor reportedly hit the back of Nipper’s DPS vehicle while it was parked for a traffic stop on the shoulder of southbound I-35.
The mangled DPS vehicle was on fire when Temple Fire & Rescue arrived at the crash.
Nipper, 63, was a peace officer for 43 years and was commissioned as a trooper in January 1983. He was stationed in Temple and lived in Morgan’s Point Resort.
After his death, Nipper was awarded in September 2018 a Star of Texas award for heroism in service to his community and the state.
In June 2018, a memorial and monument services to honor Nipper was held at the DPS office in Temple.
The indictment listed several reasons why Taylor was indicted for Nipper’s death:
• Taylor didn’t maintain a single lane of travel.
• He didn’t look out for other vehicles on the road.
• Taylor didn’t keep a perfect lookout for other vehicles in his path.
• He didn’t apply the brakes in order to avoid possibly colliding with Nipper’s vehicle, in which Nipper was an occupant.
• Taylor didn’t turn his vehicle to avoid the collision.
• He improperly entered onto and drove on the shoulder of the road.
• Taylor didn’t move or reduce the speed of his vehicle to 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit when he approached a stationary emergency vehicle with its lights activated.
Medical care was given to four people at the crash, including Nipper.
The preliminary autopsy report showed Nipper died from multiple blunt force trauma caused by an accident.
Taylor talked to a Telegram reporter at the crash scene that day, and said the last thing he remembered was that his vehicle was in the left lane of traffic. He and his fiancé were on their way home from Corsicana, and he didn’t even know he hit a car, Taylor said.