Fallen officer honored - East Valley Tribune: Tempe

Fallen officer honored

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Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2006 10:50 am | Updated: 5:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Tyler Fahlman’s father turned him in for underage drinking three years ago to “teach him a lesson,” court records show. But that lesson wasn’t learned.

The 20-year-old Tempe man was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol three days later, records show.

Fahlman spent a night in jail and did community service, only to later plead guilty to underage possession of alcohol and rack up a couple of speeding tickets.

Fifteen Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and one victim’s impact panel later, Fahlman is being held in Maricopa County’s Lower Buckeye Jail on suspicion of manslaughter and hit-and-run after being involved in a crash Saturday in Tempe that fatally injured Gilbert police officer Rob Targosz, 37, while the officer was riding his motorcycle to work.

While Fahlman is being held on a $270,000 bond, the Gilbert Police Department is making funeral arrangements for its first officer to die in the line of duty and remembering a 12-year veteran of the department who was married just nine months ago.

“Any time I asked him about his wife, he’d grin ear-to-ear and say, ‘I’m a lucky guy,’ ” Gilbert Police Chief Tim Dorn said. “He liked to catch bad guys, but the side a lot of the public didn’t see was his caring side and how much he cared for his family.”

Dorn said Targosz regularly came up with solutions to problems. He had just finished a proposal for a new DUI van and got a town code passed. He had also heard that officers would like to wear protective vests outside their uniforms and made it happen.

Targosz, who regularly participated in the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial for Fallen Officers, was remembered Monday at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in Phoenix at the 33rd annual memorial service. He normally would have attended the event, but instead only his memory was there.

“Unfortunately as we gather here tonight we have to deal with the loss of a Gilbert officer,” said Bryan Soller, Arizona Fraternal Order of Police president. “Our hearts go out to friends and family and those who loved him.”

During the somber event, Gov. Janet Napolitano read the names and accomplishments of six police officers in Arizona who died in the line of duty last year. Their names are engraved in the memorial’s wall, where Targosz’s name soon will be etched.

Police said field sobriety tests showed Fahlman was impaired the night of his arrest. A breath alcohol test given to Fahlman two to three hours after the crash showed his blood alcohol level to be 0.09. Police are awaiting blood test results.

Both Fahlman and his passenger, Ryan Moore, 20, are Arizona State University students, according to police.

Fahlman’s father wrote in a letter to the Scottsdale Municipal Court in April 2003, “My son Ty is the defendant in the above noted action, an action precipitated and initiated by myself to teach him a lesson.” Court records show Fahlman’s father reported him for underage drinking in the family’s north Scottsdale home on April 10, 2003.

Fahlman’s father was listed as the registered owner of the 2005 Ford Mustang his son was driving during the crash, Tempe Sgt. Dan Masters said.

Fahlman’s father could not be reached for comment.

Information about Targosz’s funeral has not yet been announced.

A history of violations

Fahlman received prior traffic and criminal alcohol citations

August 2002: Cited for speeding.

April 10, 2003: Cited for underage drinking

April 13, 2003: Charged with driving under the influence, speeding, giving false information, underage drinking, liquor in a vehicle and curfew.

July 22, 2003: At 17, pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, false reporting to a police officer and underage drinking. Sentenced to 24 hours in jail, 10 hours of community service. All charges were expunged.

Sept. 12, 2003: Cited for underage drinking

Oct. 30, 2003: Pleaded guilty to underage possession of alcohol and was sentenced to one year probation; attend 15 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel. The charge was later expunged.

October 2005: Cited for speeding.

March 2006: Cited for speeding.

SOURCE: Scottsdale Municipal Court records

- Tribune writer Mike Sakal and ABC 15 News contributed to this report.

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