Corpus Christi Police Chief Floyd Simpson   
Corpus Christi, Texas, Police Department

Corpus Christi, Texas, is mourning the death of Police Chief Floyd Simpson, the city’s first black police chief. He died late Sunday in a tragic highway accident, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports.

Simpson, 51, was on his motorcycle, headed south on State Highway 361 in Port Aransas, Texas, according to the report. A Ford pickup truck, traveling north, crossed the center lane and veered into southbound traffic. A white car in front of Simpson then drove off the road, and Simpson laid down his bike to avoid a collision. As he did so, the chief hit his head against the road when his helmet came off, and he died in the hospital from the impact.

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“Hearts are heavy today,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez at a news conference. “We’ve lost a great public servant in Chief Floyd Simpson.”

Martinez later told the Caller-Times: “He loved people, and people loved him. We always saw him with a smile on his face.”

Simpson, a Chicago native, was a husband and father of four. He was a 25-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, where he had risen to the rank of assistant police chief, prior to becoming police chief of Corpus Christi in 2012, according to the Dallas Morning News.

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He was an avid motorcyclist with a particular love for Harley-Davidsons. Under his leadership, Simpson’s riding club, the Iron Knights, raised $10,000 to send children with sickle cell anemia to a summer camp that taught them how to manage their blood disorder.

Henry Garret, Corpus Christi’s former mayor and police chief, said Simpson had many accomplishments.

“This community lost a real leader and a real outstanding police chief who had already done a lot of things and had a lot of things planned,” he told the Caller-Times.

Read more at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the Dallas Morning News.