Pinellas County: Deputy Killed Trying to Help Drunk Driver Stop from High-Speed Chase

Raven Haengel, Photographer, Writer

 February 18th, 2021: In St. Petersburg: 30-year-old Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Magli was killed trying to stop a drunk driver who was leading authorities on a high-speed chase. According to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Magli stopped his patrol car in the median around East Lake Road to retrieve stop sticks to stop the drunk driver and puncturhis tires. The suspect is 33-year-old Robert Allen HolzaepfelHolzaepfel was driving under the influence and a suspended license before he hit Magli. Holzaepfel was arrested Wednesday and was charged with first-degree felony murder, DUI manslaughter, driving without a valid license resulting in deathaggravated fleeing, and eluding law enforcement. According to Gualtieri, the chase started after East Lake Fire Rescue responded to a call about a driver passed out at a red light. The rescue broke the Holzaepfel’s windows and sped off as he woke upGualtieri said “He needed to be stopped or he was going to hurt someone else,” “The safest way to do it was to deflatthe tires and not endanger anyone else.” Magli was about to grab the stop sticks, outside of his cruiser, but was crashed into by Holzaepfel’s truck. The truck spun out of control into the median, trapping the deputy underneath. Magli was married and had two children. Gualtieri told Wink News, he was going to visit the deputy’s family on Wednesday later that night. An update provided by Bay News 9, said a procession for Deputy Michael Magli is set to schedule around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. It is reported 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