TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A retired Tyler police officer and his grandson are dead after their truck ran off the road. It happened around 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon on FM 14 a few miles east of Quitman.
Authorities say Dan Ross, 54, was driving when his truck went off the road and into a tree, killing both Ross and his grandson, Southern Trace Glaspie, 7.
"I would challenge anyone who met Dan to say that they didn't like him upon meeting him," said Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle.
"Dan was a cop's cop," said Tyler Police Sergeant Terry Morrow. "[He] did a wonderful job as a uniform officer."
Morrow spent hundreds of night shifts on patrol next to Dan.
"One of the first things that Dan talked to me about when we were working late nights was he said if I need some help you better be there and I'll be there for you," said Morrow.
Dan spent much of his career protecting the streets of Tyler in secret. An undercover narcotics officer named to the DEA task force, Dan spent years trying to keep local neighborhoods drug free.
"He'll go down in history as one of the best narcotics officers that this agency has had," said Morrow. "He was wonderful at that job."
"It's a tough job and Dan was a leader," said Swindle. "Dan was a person who set an example for the younger officers to follow on how to be a good police officer."
Chief Gary Swindle was one of those officers looking up to Dan, already a seasoned officer.
"I always looked at Dan as kind of a mentor to me as I was going up through my career," said Swindle. "We spent several years in the investigations unit together."
His police duty never questioned, Ross served East Texas on and off the clock.
"He was actually propositioned by a lady of the street at a red light and he said, 'Sure, get in,' and drove her to the police department and arrested her," said Morrow.
Countless honors and awards came to the man who treated fellow officers as family. Despite his loss, he leaves behind a strong law enforcement legacy.
"He served the citizens of Tyler for over 23 years and he'll continue to be remembered and missed," said Swindle.
Autopsies have been ordered.
Arrangements have been made for Ross and his grandson in Tyler. Visitation is Friday evening at Lloyd James Funeral Home. The funeral is 4:30 Saturday afternoon at Friendly Baptist.