The Hays County Commissioners Court digressed from its normal meeting format Tuesday as those in attendance gathered to honor a trooper who was killed in the line of duty almost 14 years ago.
The meeting was adjourned to unveil the Randy Vetter Memorial Highway signs, which will be displayed along Interstate Highway 35 in San Marcos. Vetter was killed in a routine traffic stop in 2000 when an elderly man he pulled over for a seatbelt violation opened fire.
Approximately 100 guests attended the Commissioners Court meeting, including Vetter’s wife and 16-year-old son.
The Randy Vetter Memorial Highway signs will denote the 5.8 mile stretch of IH-35, said Jamie Page, Hays County Sherriff’s Office Chief Deputy. The memorial signs will start in Kyle and run along the highway to San Marcos.
Roads surrounding the courthouse Tuesday were closed to make room for officers and guests to view the unveiling of the memorial, Page said.
The traffic stop in 2000 took place at Yarrington Road and the west access of IH-35, said a police officer in attendance who responded to the incident.
Vetter was among the many first responders to arrive on the scene 14 years ago. The Hays County Sherriff’s Office, San Marcos Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and University Police Department responded to the incident.
The man was taken into custody after a brief standoff and Vetter was immediately transported to the hospital where he later died.
An existing memorial at the location where Vetter was shot will remain intact and be joined by the new highway memorial that will be visible from the interstate, said Hays County Judge Bert Cobb. Development of the highway memorial was a long process. It first gained approval from the legislature and then the Texas Department of Transportation.
“Randy was a part of the Hays County family,” Cobb said. “His family still lives here. It’s appropriate we honor him.”
State Representative Doug Miller knew Vetter from childhood and supported the passing of the legislation for the memorial, Cobb said.
As a family friend of Vetter, Miller remained dedicated to the memorial and its lengthy funding approval process, Cobb said.
A park was named after Vetter months earlier, and the highway memorial will be the final portion of efforts made to honor the fallen trooper, Cobb said.