Thursday, November 30, 2023

Pinellas deputy struck and killed in crash off East Lake Road, subject in custody

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The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a crash involving a Pinellas County Deputy. The crash occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a crash involving a Pinellas County Deputy. The crash occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

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Scene of crash on East Lake Road just south of Keystone Road

The driver of a 2002 Ford F150 pickup truck, identified as 33 year-old Robert Holzaepfel was taken into custody after striking and killing the deputy who died at the scene.

The incident began after a crew from East Lake Fire Rescue responded to a call for a driver passed out behind the wheel of a pickup truck at East Lake Road and Forelock Road. The driver was passed out behind the wheel and near the intersection. The fire rescue crews made the decision to break the window to assist the unconscious driver. He woke up and fled from the fire rescue crews and proceeded northbound.

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Photo of Deputy Michael Magli who was killed in crash trying to stop a reckless/impaired driver

Detectives say Holzaepfel fled the scene travelling Northbound on East Lake
Road. He continued to drive recklessly travelling Eastbound on Keystone Road
continuing to evade deputies. Holzaepfel made a U-turn driving over a curb
travelling back to East Lake Road where he stopped at the red light. Deputies attempted a traffic stop, however, he fled southbound on East Lake Road.

Most recent booking photo of Robert Holzaepfel from the Florida Department of Corrections

According to investigators, 30 year-old Deputy Michael Magli was travelling Northbound on East Lake Road and stopped in the median to deploy a tire deflation device. Deputy Magli was standing outside of his vehicle when Holzaepfel entered the median, lost control of his truck, and collided with Deputy Magli.

Deputy Magli was pinned under his patrol vehicle and was pronounced deceased
on scene.

Deputy Michael Magli was hired by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in 2013. In an emotional press conference, Sheriff Gualtieri mentioned that Holzaepfel has 16 prior felony convictions, was driving on a suspended license and currently on probation. Sheriff Gualtieri stated that Holzaepfel was drunk at the time of the crash.

Magli leaves behind his parents, wife and two young children.

All lanes of East Lake Road were closed from Ridgemoor Boulevard to Keystone Road. The Major Accident Investigation Team (M.A.I.T.) arrived on-scene to investigate details of the crash.

Holzaepfel is facing charges of First degree murder, leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage, DUI Manslaughter, driving with a suspended license involving a death, and aggravated fleeing and eluding police officers.

Detectives determined the blood alcohol level of the suspect, 33-year old Robert Allen Holzaepfel, to be .230. Nearly 3 times the legal level of impairment while operating a vehicle.

East Lake Road is expected to remain closed between Forelock and Keystone Road until mid morning on Thursday.

Sheriff Gualtieri provides press conference regarding the line of duty death

Motorcade transporting Deputy Magli to funeral home in Trinity
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