The Dallas Morning News
May 24, 1986
Edition: HOME FINAL
MANSFIELD OFFICER DIES IN HIT-RUN
Trailer on loose strikes motorcycle patrolman
Author: Bobette Riner; Mid-Cities Bureau of The News The Dallas Morning News (DAL) + _____
A 45-year-old motorcycle patrol officer was killed Friday morning when a cargo trailer snapped loose from an oncoming pickup truck and hit him head-on, police said.
Dan C. Cordes, a 20-year police veteran, became the first Mansfield officer killed in the line of duty. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Harris Hospital-Methodist in Fort Worth, where he was taken by CareFlite helicopter shortly after the 10:15 a.m. incident on Broad Street near U.S. Highway 287.
Authorities conducted a manhunt Friday for the driver of the pickup truck, who fled the scene and abandoned the truck about a half-mile from the accident site.
Investigators were attempting to verify late Friday whether the man is an escapee from a prison near Kansas City, Mo., said Deputy Chief Marvin Ivy.
Cordes was westbound on his motorcycle on Broad Street when the pickup, a 1959 Chevrolet Apache, approached on the two-lane street and the trailer broke loose, striking the officer, police said.
Witnesses told police the pickup continued without stopping and turned south on U.S. 287. Police found the pickup on the shoulder of the highway.
Investigators said that although the incident appeared to be unintentional, the truck driver made no effort to stop afterward.
Police said they were preparing an arrest warrant for the man for failure to stop and render aid. He apparently had used the trailer to help a woman move to a Mansfield apartment complex this week. A similar warrant was being prepared against the woman, who owns the truck, police said.
The Dallas and Fort Worth police helicopters were enlisted to help authorities from Arlington, Crowley, Tarrant County and Johnson County search nearby open fields where the driver apparently escaped on foot.
As officers from Mansfield's 19-member police force searched for the man, some took time to comfort Cordes' family and remember their colleague.
Cordes, Mansfield's first and only full-time motorcycle officer, was appreciated for his friendly nature and sense of humor, friends and colleagues said.
"Even if he wrote you a ticket, you'd walk away liking him,' said patrol Sgt. D.W. Simon.
"You won't find anybody in this town who would say anything bad about him -- even before he died,' Ivy said. "In my six years here, we never got a complaint against Officer Cordes.'
Several officers visited Cordes' home Friday to comfort his widow, Linda, and children Cindy, 18, and Todd, 14.
One officer, P. Pierce, who stayed with the family, said Cordes saw her through what could have been a difficult situation -- being the department's first female police officer.
"He taught me what being a good police officer is all about,' she said. "He was my partner, my friend, my inspiration -- and like a father to me.'
Officer Pierce said Cordes loved motorcycles so much that he moonlighted as a funeral escort "every chance he could.' He also taught her how to ride a motorcycle.
"That man was poetry in motion. No one could ride a motorcycle like him,' she said. "Whatever I do, Dan's always going to be with me. He's going to survive in the minds and hearts of everyone.'
Copyright 1986 The Dallas Morning News Company
Record Number: DAL230964