Lubbock mourned one of its own Friday as a motorcycle accident claimed the life of County Court at Law Judge Larry "Rusty" Ladd.
Ladd leaves behind a wife, three sons and one daughter.
He had been a police officer in both California and in Lubbock, then served as a prosecutor in Amarillo and Plainview.
He was brought back to Lubbock by District Attorney Bill Sowder, who hired Ladd as a felony prosecutor in the early 1990's. Ladd served 12 years as County Court at Law judge in District No. 1.
Sowder is now a State District Judge, but he was the D.A. when he hired Ladd.
"We go way back for a lot of reasons," Sowder said.
Sowder describes Ladd as, "Very professional."
"Rusty had a way of knowing that people were people," Sowder said. "He wasn't going to let anyone get away with anything, but he remembered he was dealing with people."
Sowder had "a sickening feeling" when he heard the news. "Initial reaction - shocked, surprised grief."
"Emotionally, you start thinking about it and it slowly turns into remembering the good things," Sowder said. "He was a strong Christian guy. Knowing he's in a better place provides some comfort."
"We're gonna miss him," Sowder said.
In November, Ladd joined the Lubbock City Council's homelessness committee.
Lynn McClendon, Chairperson of the committee said, "He was such an asset - valuable and an advocate for the homeless. He will be greatly missed."
Lubbock County Director of Court Administration David Slayton said Ladd described his work as "a calling."
"A few weeks ago he stopped by and talked to me. He said we have a higher reason why we do this. It's not to just get a paycheck. It's every day we are here for a purpose. He really felt that," Slayton said.
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