UPDATE (Feb. 20): The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office have released the suspect's blood alcohol level. Detectives with the Robbery/Homicide Unit determined that 33-year-old Robert Allen Holzaepfel's BAC was .230, nearly three times the legal limit.

Detectives are also asking for help locating anyone whose vehicle may have been damaged in crashes at East Lake Road north of Forelock Road or at Keystone Road and Woodfield Boulevard between 4:15 - 4:45 p.m. on February 17.

They're also looking for any video of the incident.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Syers at (727) 582-6215 or email jsyersjr@pcsonet.com. 

UPDATE (Feb. 18): A procession for fallen Deputy Michael Magli is sheduled for around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. His casket will be escorted from the medical examiner's office to the funeral home.

The procession will follow the following route:

  • East on Ulmerton 
  • North on U.S. 19
  • East on Bartelt Road

The Pinelals County Sheriff's Office is asking for patience from drivers because traffic will be affected through around 4:30 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY: PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A deputy is dead following a chaotic series of events that ended with a horrific crash Wednesday afternoon in Pinellas County.

What You Need To Know

  • Deputy Michael Magli killed by fleeing drunk driver, Pinellas Sheriff says

  • Magli was 30 years old

  • Sheriff says the suspected drunk driver was out of jail on parole

  • Procession will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday; Traffic information below

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says a call was received at 4:25 p.m. about a person who was passed out in a pickup truck at Forelock Road and East Lake Road. 

He says the fire department responded, but when paramedics broke the window to help, the driver slammed on the gas and sped away.

Deputies who had been called to the scene did not chase after the driver, according to the sheriff, but a sergeant did attempt a traffic stop. That's when, Gualtieri says, the driver turned into a subdivision, jumped a median, and sped away again.

The sheriff says the driver was drunk and was swerving all over East Lake Road at high speeds, so 30-year-old Deputy Michael Magli took action to stop him. Gualtieri says Magli got out of his cruiser to retrieve his stop sticks, but before he got the chance to deploy them, the driver lost control, flipped over, and slammed into him.

Gualtieri says Magli was pinned under his cruiser and killed.

"Deputy Magli was trying to protect people, he was trying to keep others from being hurt,” said Gualtieri. “This guy who is driving like a maniac, drunk, reckless, going to hurt somebody. So he (Magli) stepped up like cops do and tried keeping people from being hurt, and he lost his life in the process."

Our news partner, the Tampa Bay Times, reports Magli was the first deputy in the agencies history to die in the line of duty.

A procession for Magli will depart from the Medical Examiner's Office at about 3 p.m. and travel eastbound on Ulmerton Road, North on U.S. Highway 19, and East on Bartelt Road to the funeral home.

The sheriff identified the driver as Robert Allen Holzaepfel, who had 16 felonies on his record and was out of jail on parole. He was uninjured and arrested. 

Holzaepfel is now facing multiple charges in connectiuon with the crash, including murder, DUI manslaughter and aggravated fleeing and eluding police.

A section of East Lake Road was closed for nearly 24 hours during the investigation. It reopned Thursday afternoon.


Facebook Twitter