Fallen Heroes: Officer William Moss

Nelson Zoch

September 12, 1983

William Moss was born in Union Point, Georgia, on August 17, 1941. He was the tenth of twelve children born to Willie and Lula Mae Moss. He graduated in 1959 from Moultrie High School in Moultrie, Georgia. From there, he moved to the New Jersey-New York City area and was employed in the engraving business with one company for more than fifteen years.

He moved to Houston in 1982 and made application to the City of Houston Aviation Division Police Department. He successfully completed the background investigation and was sworn in as an airport police officer on September 17, 1982.

On Monday, September 12, 1983, Officer William Moss was working the evening shift at Houston Intercontinental Airport. He was in the process of responding to an accident call and driving south on JFK Boulevard on streets that were slick from a recent rain. As Officer Moss entered a curve in the boulevard, he spun out of control, striking the curb. The 1982 Ford patrol car then slid on the wet grass and into several trees, striking them with the left side. The crash pinned Officer Moss in the vehicle. After witnesses summoned assistance, responders found Officer Moss dead at the scene. He was forty-two years old.

Veteran Accident Investigator J. H. Lynn conducted the investigation of the scene, supervised by Accident Lieutenant E. J. Smith and Accident Sergeant Jesse Foroi. Airport Police Chief Wilfred Navarro also attended the scene of this fatality. Officer Lynn’s investigation concluded that while speed and wet surfaces likely contributed to this accident, the police vehicle had a bald tire on the right rear that also was a major factor.

Lieutenant Smith and Sergeant Foroi contacted an expert from the Traffic and Transportation Department who also contributed to the investigation. They found that this roadway was worn slick from heavy use and badly in need of resurfacing. They also concluded that this type of roadway in this condition was especially dangerous when the issue of a bald tire was a factor. In summary, there were a variety of factors that contributed to the tragic death of Officer Moss.

Moss was survived by his wife Flora, a daughter, Kim Moss, age eighteen, and three sons, Barry Moss, twenty; Bryant Moss, seventeen; and Roland Moss, fourteen. He was also survived by a stepson, Michael Jones, twenty-one. He was also mourned by his parents, William and Lula Mae Moss and seven sisters, Janet Moss, Carrie Stevens, Juanita Hanks, Hattie McCullum, Mary Stallworth, Lula Carter and Sarah Richardson, as well as by two brothers, John Moss and Robert L. Moss.

Funeral Services were held at the Heights Funeral Home Chapel at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, September 15, 1983, with Police Chaplain H. L. Hannah officiating. Interment was in New York City.