The suspect was found passed out behind the wheel of a pickup truck at a red light. Rescue crews broke the window to intervene, awakening the suspect who then led authorities on a chase.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Authorities find the blood alcohol-level of the Florida man suspected of killing Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael J. Magli was found to be .230, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.

Credit: PCSO | CW44 News At 10

On Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at about 4:25 p.m., deputies assigned to the Patrol Operations Bureau were dispatched to the intersection of Forelock Road and East Lake Road in Unincorporated Tarpon Springs. According to detectives, 33-year-old Robert Allen Holzaepfel was passed out behind the wheel at the red light. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stated in a press conference that Holzaepfel was found by rescue crews to be slumped over and unresponsive at a red light. The fire crews broke out a window to assess Holzaepfel when he awoke and led deputies on a chase.

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.

According to investigators, Deputy Magli was travelling Northbound on East Lake Road and stopped in the median to deploy a tire deflation device (Stop
Sticks). Deputy Magli was standing outside of his vehicle when Holzaepfel entered the median, lost control of his truck, and collided with the Deputy. He was pinned under his patrol vehicle and was pronounced deceased on scene.

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Deputy Michael J. Magli was only 30 years old at the time of his death and had been with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office since 2013. He is survived by his wife, two young children, and his parents. The tragic loss of the young deputy was felt throughout the Tampa Bay community and his memory was honored Thursday in a procession that was organized by the PCSO to escort his Deputy Magli from the Medical Examiner’s Office to a funeral home in Holiday, Florida.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office created a Deputy Michael J. Magli Memorial Fund. The fund will be open for all donations and will serve as the officially recognized Fund for the Magli family. Those interested in donating are asked to visit any SunTrust banking location to contribute. Checks can also be sent to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Fiscal Division made payable to the Memorial.

Authorities say the 33-year-old Holzaepfel was a transient and was later confirmed to be operating the pickup truck with a suspended license at a blood alcohol level of .230. Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Robbery/Homicide Unit have charged Holzaepfel with the following:

  • First Degree Felony Murder
  • DUI Manslaughter
  • Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (Involving Death)
  • Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Property Damage
  • Manatee County Violation of Probation (False Info to a Pawn Broker)
  • Manatee County Violation of Probation (Trafficking in Stolen Property)
  • Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding

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Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include details of charges brought against the suspect and the results of his blood alcohol level.