Rob Targosz was a good man.
He was a 12-year veteran of the Gilbert Police Department, named “Officer of the Year” twice. He was a problem-solver, always coming up with new ideas, and known for his smile and good nature. To this day his friends and family miss him. On April 30, 2006, Rob was on his GPD motorcycle unit on his way to a DUI enforcement post when a red Ford Mustang blew a red light at the intersection of Apache Blvd. and Price Rd. (also the frontage road for the Loop 101). The Mustang obliterated Rob’s unit, causing injuries that he would succumb to the next day; the driver and a passenger jumped out of the Mustang and fled on foot. The passenger, 20-year-old Ryan Moore, felt some remorse and later returned to the scene and turned himself in. Four hours after the wreck, 20-year-old driver Tyler Fahlman was located at his father’s North Scottsdale home. The car was registered to his father.
At that time, four hours after the incident, Tyler blew a .083 on a breathalyzer test. That’s four hours of his body metabolizing alcohol; a human adult typically metabolizes alcohol at a rate of about one drink per hour. That means at the time of the wreck, his blood alcohol content was probably .20 or higher.
Two years later, Fahlman finally pleaded guilty and received a nine-year sentence. During sentencing, his father and sister reportedly made very emotional pleas to be lenient on him. He just made a mistake, right? Well, it continues. I have recently discovered a Facebook page dedicated to him. It’s called “Free Fahlman” and it was set up by his sister and one of his best friends. Here’s the description:
“Show your love for a brother on lock down. We all make mistakes, that’s what life’s about. I hope all that were Ty’s REAL friends understand this and always keep him at mind. Hopefully we can all compose a shrine of pics and memories of Ty on “FREE FAHLMAN” to reflect upon from time to time. Ty: Do your time, Don’t let your time do you.”
It gets better. The page is still public – for now – and there are some amazing comments there.
A white boy from Snottsdale (I live in the city, I can get away with making fun of it) named Travis Heisler, who apparently thinks he’s a gangster, said, “dedicating “IM FREE” by PIMP C (R.I.P.) to ty , so many of us miss you brother, stay up, we will see you soon.” Another friend named Derek Cardoza tells Tyler – who is a writer and was studying film at Scottsdale CC – that he’s “laying the foundation” for when his buddy gets out of prison. I guess the wannabe mafioso theme runs in his friends, because another one named Gavin Carpenter said, “Happy birthday brother, keep your head up buddy we are holdin it down for you until you get home. Arnold is coming out with a new movie with Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Danny Trejo, Randy Coutour, and Stone Cold Steve Austin..sickest cast ever, called the Expendables! Stay up playa we will see you in no time. -GIP.” Gal pal Gena Lee Nolin wrote, “Thinking about you Ty.. I hope that you’re still writing and dreaming about the days to come. That your visions and the words you write will someday be for all of us to see.. I believe it!”
The most disgusting post of all was early in the section from a friend named Robin Pels. She said, “I think about Ty often and just think the whole situations sucks. They (the law officials) could have turned this into a positive instead of ruining so many lives. Ty has a lot to offer and could have done so much for the topic other sitting in a cell..makes me sick.”
You had your two cents. Now, since the officers, family and friends who loved Rob are unable to speak because of the jobs they still love, I’m going to have MY say.
You all say that he made a mistake. According to Robin, it’s apparently sickening to you that law enforcement wanted to see justice done because there was oh so much good Tyler could do now. Here’s the problem…Tyler was first cited for underage drinking in 2003, when he was just 16 years old. His father called the police himself to “teach him a lesson.” It didn’t stick, because just three short days later, on April 13, 2003, Tyler was arrested for underage drinking, driving under the influence, giving false information and having liquor in a vehicle – after crashing daddy’s Mercedes into a house at 0400 and trying to back up and drive away. He got a measley 24 hours in jail and some community service along with an expunged record. Just five months later, in September 2003, he was cited for underage drinking yet again, this time while hosting a keg party at his parents’ house. One month after that, in October 2003, he was arrested for DUI again. He got a year of probation and was required to attend AA and a MADD impact panel. His record was expunged a second time. He was cited for speeding just one month before the April 2006 wreck in which he flew past cars stopped at a red light, went through the light and hit Rob Targosz.
No…a “mistake” would have been what happened if he’d been sober when he hit Rob. I might have bought the idea that it was a mistake if it was the first time he’d gone driving while drunk. What I fail to understand is how so many people can be so loyal to a person who continually defied the laws not only about drinking, not only about driving, but BOTH repeatedly. I might be able to understand supporting him while he does his time if, in his and your remorse, you all felt that he deserved what he’d gotten and he needed to serve all of his time.
Tyler has been at ASPC Eyman for nearly two and a half years now. He’s got just five years left; he may well get out of prison in half that. In his prison mugshot, he wears a smirk that I cannot abide, one I’ve seen on many prison inmates and ICE detainees. When making his statement, Tyler claimed that he saw the burning wreckage but wasn’t thinking that someone might be in it – he was thinking about how he’d wrecked his father’s car. That isn’t a mistake, either, and calling it “selfish” is letting yourself off the hook. Try inexcusable. You knew before you got behind the wheel that what you were doing was wrong. If you don’t know it now, then I cannot find an ounce of respect for you or for your friends. Rob’s wife, children, family and friends will never have him back. Our prisons are full of people who just “made mistakes” that landed them there. Claiming to not understand what you did wrong does not now and never will absolve you of the consequences of your actions. Since a slew of arrests, probation, AA meetings and impact panels (not to mention crashing a car into a house) didn’t teach you, what else was the public supposed to do – wait for you to kill someone else? Your dreams may one day be realized, you privileged little brat, but listening to you and your family and friends talk about how unfair your sentence is disgusts me. I’d really like to know which of you stuck-up trust-fund pricks were at the kegger that landed his THIRD underage drinking arrest. I never would have been able to get away with anything remotely like that when I was a kid.
Incredibly, the maker of the site had the patent nerve to post a picture of the Steve Benson memorial cartoon paying homage to Rob Targosz. I wanted to vomit.