Fort Worth

TABC investigates bar off-duty Fort Worth officer visited before fatal crash

Fort Worth officer Michael Valdez, and his wife, Mary Ann, died early Friday in a motorcycle crash in Fort Worth, authorities said. Valdez was off-duty at the time of the wreck.
Fort Worth officer Michael Valdez, and his wife, Mary Ann, died early Friday in a motorcycle crash in Fort Worth, authorities said. Valdez was off-duty at the time of the wreck. Family of Michael Valdez

Officials with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are investigating a downtown bar where an off-duty Fort Worth police officer had been early Friday just before he and his wife were killed in a motorcycle crash.

Officer Michael Valdez, 44, and his wife, Mary Ann Valdez, 39, both died as a result of the crash near the Fort Worth Cultural District.

The general manager of Studio Eighty at 500 Taylor St. called TABC officials just hours after the accident to report the officer had been to the business, a TABC official said Tuesday.

“The investigation will focus on whether the officer was over-served,” TABC spokeswoman Mariann Morelock said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Police department spokesman officer Brad Perez said Tuesday he was unaware of the investigation.

The inquiry could take several months as TABC officials conduct interviews with employees, check credit card receipts and view surveillance cameras.

Studio Eighty officials could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Family members were not aware of the investigation until Star-Telegram reporters contacted them Tuesday.

“Michael was a very responsible man, they both were,” said Isidro Ramos, Mary Ann’s older brother. “Everything so far has been surprising — and heartbreaking.”

If the bar is found to have committed TABC violations, the punishments would range from eight days’ suspension to cancellation of the liquor license.

The couple were riding home at 2:17 a.m. Friday on his Harley, something they did often, when the crash happened in the 3300 block of Trail Drive.

Michael Valdez was pronounced dead at the scene and his wife was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, where she died shortly afterward.

Police provided no other details on the crash.

The couple’s oldest son, Mikey Valdez, was following them home when the crash happened, Ramos said. The 911 call report said the caller kept “yelling Dad, Dad.”

Mary Ann Valdez and her husband were born and raised in San Antonio, where they lived until he got a job with the Fort Worth Police Department in 2001.

Michael Valdez had worked with the department for at least 15 years, beginning in the gang unit and most recently in the intelligence unit.

This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.

Staff writer Azia Tullos contributed to this report.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

Rickey C. Turner Sr. became the city’s first black firefighter to have his name engraved on the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial wall Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Video by Max Faulkner/Star-Telegram)

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