KUSA - As a teenager, Taylor Thyfault was exceptional. His ambition and passion led him to make a list of 25 future goals when he was in high school.
Those goals were:
- Join the Army and be the best that I can be
- Go bungee jumping
- Get married
- Start a family
- Buy an English Bull Dog and name him Diesel
- Swim with sharks
- Visit Hawaii
- Visit the tribe I am from (Saquangue Lakota Oyate)
- Save a life
- Coach a Lacrosse team
- Graduate high school
- Get a masters part time in the military
- Get a job
- Buy my own truck
- Wrestle an alligator
- Meet the 'Jackass' crew
- Buy my Quad
- Play football for a minor league
- Go cliff diving
- Volunteer in the community
- Go to Alaska
- Be there for all of the people that have been there for me
- Never be arrested
- Go to Oktoberfest in Germany
- Be the best man, husband, son, soldier, and friend as ... possible
As apparent, Thyfault didn't dream about becoming rich or buying a mansion. Thyfault's mom, Carole Adler, knew about those dreams, and she knew he was capable of accomplishing them. They were extremely close.
By the time Thyfault was 21 years old, he was already an Army veteran and in the final stages of his cadet training with the Colorado State Patrol.
On May 23, 2015, Thyfault was on assignment with Trooper Clinton Rushing on a crash investigation on Colorado Highway 66 near Weld County when they were warned about a high-speed police chase coming their way. They deployed stop sticks to attempt to stop the suspect.
The driver missed the stop sticks and crashed into both men. Rushing was critically injured, Thyfault died at the scene.
A tow-truck driver who was at the scene of the initial wreck said Thyfault warned him to get out of the way, and this warning saved his life.
Adler considers her son a hero.
"And if you asked him, he'd do it again, because he sacrificed himself, for someone else," Adler said. "He lived, he dreamed and breathed that."
Adler knows she was the last person Thyfault sent a text message to on the day he died. They routinely communicated throughout the day. They worked out together. They had coffee on Friday mornings. Her grief never leaves.
"Every day, it hits me like a ton of bricks, when I can't text him," Adler said. "We're just that close. Everything that happened in his life was in my life."
Just a few weeks after Thyfault's death, Adler felt the urge to text him to tell him she missed him and she loved him. She knew this was a one way conversation, but it helped her feel close to him. After sending several text messages, she got a response.
Sergeant Kell Husley from the Greeley Police Department got a new work phone this summer. He noticed the text messages instantly but assumed they were the wrong number and ignored them. It was that one message late one night that made him stop and think about his response.
"So I sent a text back and identified myself, and said 'I'm with the Greeley Police Department, and I don't think your texts are going where you think they are,'" he texted.
Seconds later, Adler responded saying she was Taylor Thyfault's mom. Sgt. Husley immediately offered to request a new phone number. Adler asked him to keep the number because he was doing the job Thyfault dreamed about doing.
Sgt. Husley couldn't help but think about the passion he had when he started 33 years ago. He felt an instant connection with Thyfault.
"He's eager. He's excited, and he's willing to do a job that can sometimes be really unthankful," Sgt. Husley said.
By learning more about him, Husley found he has new energy, new faith in this career. And, he has someone else looking out for him.
Carole occasionally will text Husley, reminding him to be safe and asking him how he's doing. Thyfault is their connection.
[Thyfault is] still trying to make a difference," Sgt. Husley said.
In May 2016, Thyfault's name will be added to the national memorial to fallen officers. His mom will be there to honor his life and celebrate his many accomplishments, including that goal of "saving a life."
(© 2015 KUSA)