HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Alabama State Trooper Willis Moore was killed in a 1996 crash while responding to another accident. He was running an emergency response when he was forced into a guard rail by several cars that refused to grant him right-of-way.
The guard rail impaled the patrol car through the steering column. Emergency workers freed Trooper Moore by cutting away the roof of the patrol car and then rushed him to the hospital.
He died as a result of his injuries later in the night.
Tuesday, fellow troopers and family helped honor Trooper Moore by sprucing up his final resting place in Huntsville.
Anyone who passes the small country cemetery near the intersection of Indian Creek and Plummer Roads will notice the flag hoisted high above Trooper Moore's grave. Now approaching 20 years since his death, it flies sun-faded and thread bare. But brothers in blue showed up on hallowed ground to change all that.
"And of course if anybody's been by here they've seen Trooper Moore's flag; it's flown for years. And sadly this is coming up on 20 years since this tragedy happened," says Alabama State Trooper Spokesman Curtis Summerville. "But again this is just a way we can honor the family."
Summerville was supposed to meet friend Willis Moore for a gym visit the night of his death. Summerville served as Moore's training officer.
"So I spent a lot of time with him and this is what he loved doing. You know, I was just talking to his sister and his father; this is what he really wanted to do. He had a passion. His father was telling me that ever since he was a little boy this is what he wanted."
"When the kids were small, I had a colored TV and a black and white TV," explains Moore's father Willie. "He let the girls watch on the colored TV until this special trooper show came on and then he wanted to watch that in color, so he got to do what he really loved and wanted to do."
So, if you pass the new, vibrant yellow and blue flag on Plummer Road, tip your hat to Trooper Moore.
Since the establishment of the Alabama Highway Patrol in 1936, 29 state troopers, including Willis Moore, have met their 'end of watch' while serving in the line of duty.