skip to content
blog home Drunk Driver Accidents DUI Crash Kills Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy

DUI Crash Kills Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on February 18, 2021

A community is mourning the tragic death of a beloved Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy who was killed on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021, while attempting to deploy stop sticks in order to end a high-speed chase with a suspected drunk driver along East Lake Road and Forelock Road in north Pinellas County.

According to preliminary reports from the local Pinellas County authorities involved in this fatal auto accident, the high-speed chase originated at approximately 2:45 p.m. when the East Lake Fire Rescue received a 9-1-1 call regarding a man who was asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle at a red traffic light on Forelock Road. First responders quickly arrived at the intersection and found that the man, later identified as 33-year-old Robert Allen Holzaepfel, was still passed out in his pickup truck. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to wake-up Holzaepfel, rescuers were forced to break a window to gain access. The sound of the glass breaking was enough to startle Holzaepfel from his slumber, who proceeded to accelerate his pickup truck away from the scene in a way that was “extremely reckless and very dangerous,” stated Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

As officers from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, including 30-year-old Deputy Michael Magli, pursued the fleeing suspect, it was decided that stop sticks should be laid out in the path of Holzaepfel’s pickup truck in order to deflate his tires and end the chase. Deputy Magli was in charge of this task and after they were deployed, he returned to the outside of his police cruiser that was parked along the grassy median of the road. In an attempt to avoid capture, Holzaepfel tried to divert his pickup around the police’s obstacle but instead crashed directly into Deputy Magli who became pinned underneath the truck. Sadly, the deputy’s injuries were far too severe to recover from and he passed away at the scene of the accident.

Deputy Magli had proudly served the Pinellas County residents since 2013, and he is survived by his wife and two sons. The suspect has since been arrested and charged with first degree felony murder, DUI manslaughter, driving without a valid license resulting in death, and aggravated fleeing and eluding law enforcement, according to jail records.

Here at the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A., we’d like to extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of Deputy Magli.


James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

Related Articles:

Do I Have A Case?

padlock 100% Secure and Confidential

Martindale Hubbell | Highest Ethical standing
  • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
  • The Florida Bar Board Certified
  • NBLSC Board Certified Lawyers
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Lead Counsel Rated
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb
  • The Florida Bar Certified Civil Trial Lawyer
  • Avvo Clients' Choice Personal Injury
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Personal Injury
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent High Ethical Standing
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
  • Super Lawyers
  • Florida Legal Elite

Client Testimonials

5 StarsMr. Cunningham is an excellent and knowledgeable attorney.
I would and have recommended Mr. Cunningham as an attorney. I am extremely happy with the service he has provided for me and my family. I will definately use Mr. Cunningham in the future if I ever need an attorney again. John, a Personal Injury client

Read Reviews

Request a free 30-minute case evaluation with attorney James O. Cunningham. Request Free Evaluation

Close Form

Receive a free case evaluation.

All submissions are personally reviewed by attorney James O. Cunningham within hours.

padlock 100% Secure and Confidential