LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) - The Lakeway Police Department mourned the loss of one of its own Thursday after Sgt. Chris Doles was killed in a wreck on his was to work.
The father of three and guardian of two other children joined the Lakeway force exactly two years before his death.
Sgt. Chris Doles was off duty and on his way to work when the crash happened around 7:30 a.m. near a tree-lined neighborhood on a heavily traveled stretch of RR 620 south of Anderson Mill Road and north of Bullock Hollow Road. He was heading south and there was no evidence he was distracted, officials said.
Authorities said Doles was a retired Waco Police Department officer who began as officer with the Lakeway Police Department on July 25, 2011. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant September 2012.
"He was a cop's cop," Lakeway Police Chief Todd Radford said. "He came from a strong tactical background. He was very intelligent of the street, understood what was expected of him. He was reasonable in his efforts and very empathetic to people he dealt with."
The Lakeway Police Department is a tight shop, Lakeway itself a tight community, where everyone seems to know everyone.
'We're like one big family," said Patti Melton-Piezchala with the Police Citizens Academy. "It's a true loss that we had today to lose one of our officers."
"We're a small community," resident Becky Willinger said. "Pretty rural out here still, so it's pretty rare."
An Austin police official helping at the scene said the death touches everyone in law enforcement.
"Our hearts are heavy at this time," said Austin Assistant Police Chief Steve Deaton. "We're saddened. the Central Texas Law Enforcement, we're family. Brings to home the reality of traffic fatalities. So many people lose their lives on the highway, to some frequency we get numbed to the tragedy, when it's one of our own, it really brings it to home."
Doles was born in Nashville, Ark., and graduated from Snyder High School in Snyder, Texas, about 45 miles southeast of Lubbock.
He was a sergeant in the Texas Army National Guard for three years. He also served on the police departments in Waco and Jarell before joining the Lakeway force on July 25, 2011.
Doles was a member of Lakeway Honor Guard and received the department's Meritorious Service Meda in December 2012. He is survived by wife, Kristen, and three children. He was a guardian to his niece and nephew.
"Chris was a very giving person," Radford said. "Very Christian man, loved his kids, very engaged in the community, loved Lakeway PD, loved the city of Lakeway."
Visitation will be July 28 from 5-7 p.m. at Cook Walden-Chapel of the Hills in Austin. Doles' funeral will be July 29 at 10 a.m. at the Hill Country Bible Church in Austin. A graveside service at Cook Walden - Capital Parks in Pflugerville will follow the funeral.
A police motorcade will escort Doles from the church to the grave site.
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