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Arizona cop dies after collision with suspected drunken driver

PoliceOne.com Staff

Officer Rob Targosz, 37, (left) was killed Sunday after his departmental motorcycle was struck by a car. The driver, Tyler Gary Fahlman, 20, (right) who has a history of traffic and alcohol violations, was arrested after fleeing. Officer Targosz was on his way to work a DUI detail. (AP Photos)
TEMPE, Ariz. — Rob Targosz, a Gilbert police officer, was struck by a speeding vehicle on Saturday at 6:35 p.m, as he drove to work on his police motorcycle. He died seven hours later at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Hospital.

Officer Targosz, who was assigned to his department's DUI unit, had been a Gilbert officer for 12 years, and was named the Gilbert officer of the year in 2003. He was the first officer killed on duty in the Gilbert department’s 86-year history.

The driver of a 2005 Ford Mustang failed to stop for a red light and crashed into Targosz. He was thrown from his departmental motorcycle and landed on the south side of the intersection of Price Road and Apache Blvd in Tempe, Ariz. The force of the impact caused his motorcycle to become embedded in the front of the Mustang, and both vehicles burst into flames. 

According to Tempe Police Department reports, witnesses said both the driver and a passenger in the Ford Mustang emerged from the wreckage through the driver's door window. Both then fled on foot without rendering any aid to the critically injured officer.

The passenger in the Mustang, Ryan Moore, 20, returned to the scene later and turned himself into police. He was booked into the Tempe City Jail on a misdemeanor charge of being under 21 with alcohol in his system. Moore submitted to a breath test an hour after the accident, and it showed his blood alcohol content to be .122/.121.  Moore was released from police custody at 1:20 a.m. Monday.

The driver of the vehicle was later identified as 20-year-old Tyler Fahlman. He was located by police at his apartment, and he later admitted that he was the driver of the Ford Mustang that hit Targosz. Fahlman was booked on Monday at 9 a.m. on charges of manslaughter and hit and run causing death. Fahlman also exhibited signs of alcohol intoxication during sobriety field tests, according to Tempe police Sgt. Dan Masters.

In the past four years, Fahlman has at least seven court cases involving driving infractions. Three of those cases involved drunken driving or underage consumption.

Targosz died one day before Arizona’s Peace Officer’s Memorial Service in Phoenix.

Information regarding funeral services for Targosz will be provided by the Gilbert  Police Department.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related story: View Officer Targosz's Officer Down entry

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