Willie Vera, Commander of the South Texas Specialized Crime and Narcotics Task Force, and Sheriff Edward Mata Sr. of the Kleberg County Sheriff Department, sadly report the death of Assistant Commander Kenneth Starrs.

Commander Starrs, 66, was killed in a vehicle collision while he was traveling to the Task Force office.

Commander Starrs was traveling down a county road and came upon a railroad crossing. The crossing was not protected with active signals or gates, only a stop sign and railroad crossbucks.

On board video cameras inside the train engine showed that Commander Starrs stopped at the crossing and then proceeded across the tracks. Commander Starrs’ department pickup truck was then struck broadside by a Union Pacific freight train.

The speed limit for the train at the crossing and the actual train speed are parts of the investigation which are being scrutinized. Other possible distraction factors that may have had a cause the crash are also being investigated.


Assistant Commander Starrs’ law enforcement career spanned thirty nine years. He served the South Texas Specialized Crime and Narcotics Task Force under the authority of the Kleberg County Sheriff Department for six years.

He had previously served at the Port of Corpus Christi Police Department for six years and had previously served and retired from the Corpus Christi Police Department as a Captain for twenty seven years. Assistant Commander Starrs was also serving at the President of the Texas FOP State Lodge.

The crash is being investigated by Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Union Pacific Railroad Police.

Assistant Commander Starrs is survived by his wife, daughter, two grand children and a sister as well as an extended family.

Assistant Commander Ken Starrs-gone, but never forgotten. EOW: Wednesday, November 16, 2016