Song about Lopez hits the airwaves
by Kenda Nelson
Aug 29, 2011 | 2595 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chief Andy Lopez’s photo is the cover of a ballad honoring his service as a law enforcement officer.
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Corrido De Andres Lopez Jr. hit the airwaves last week. Smiley Cuellar of Refugio wrote the ode to a hero – Andy Lopez, Refugio chief of police.

“He is so well respected,” Cuellar said. “The song was written and recorded to acknowledge one of (Lopez’s) life-threatening experiences during (his) illustrious career as a law enforcement officer.”

On Sept. 21, 1991, Lopez, then a Texas state trooper, was patrolling a stretch of U.S. 77 when he noticed a vehicle with a defective headlight.

In most instances, the stop would have been routine. But not this time. The three undocumented immigrants inside the vehicle were armed, dangerous and hauling more than 50 pounds of marijuana in the trunk.

Before the smoke cleared, one bandit lay dead, two absconded on foot to only be captured hours later 20 miles away, and Lopez was being treated for a bullet wound on his side.

Smiley’s corrido tells the story in Spanish, the traditional accordion music of the Conjunto style puts a snap in the song.

For Cuellar, Lopez has the mark of a hero. After meeting Lopez face-to-face almost 20 years after the incident Smiley wrote the Corrido in Spanish, for a hero.

“It’s an honor,” Lopez said Tuesday. “I’m humbled by the gesture. For someone to write a ballad on something I experienced is something I’ll remember my whole life.”

Caught on video and audio, the incident remains a teaching tool for troopers and is seen regularly on television shows across the nation.

“After the DPS began to use the video as a teaching tool, Oprah Winfrey and the national channels began airing it,” Lopez said.

Lopez reacted in near-perfect textbook style when the criminals began to fire at him. So it remains a valuable tool for officers in training who may at some point have to use deadly force in their careers.

“Who would have thought that a routine traffic stop for a defective headlight? Officers just never know what they will be coming up against,” Lopez said.

Smiley says the song is also for all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.

A year after the incident, Lopez was looking for closure. He pulled off the highway in the exact same spot and relived that night in his mind’s eye.

“That night I had closure and was, for the first time since the incident, at peace,” Lopez said.

Many people throughout the ages have stepped up to do heroic deeds but few inspire ballads to be written about them.

Only time will tell if the corrido will still be sung in five, 10, or 20 years from now.
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