HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say a sheriff’s deputy died in a crash Wednesday after his vehicle clipped the back of a semitrailer parked on the shoulder of a Houston-area highway.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Robert Adam Howard, a 27-year-old Harris County sheriff’s deputy, was getting ready to begin an operation when he hit the semitrailer on State Highway 249. The collision peeled back the driver’s side of the vehicle.

Howard joined the sheriff’s office three years ago in August of 2019 after moving from the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office.

He was assigned to District 5 patrol from 2019 until February of this year, where he joined the Violent Gang Suppression Unit.

Gonzalez says, “Our hearts are broken.”

A second Harris County sheriff’s office deputy who was riding a motorcycle was injured while escorting Howard to the hospital, but Gonzalez said that deputy was expected to be OK.

Howard is survived by his wife and  a 5-year-old son and 2 year-old daughter.