Officer down: Young deputy killed by suspected drunk driver – a convicted felon with a suspended license

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL – A 30-year-old Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy was reportedly killed by a suspected drunk driver during the afternoon of February 17th, according to reports

Officials say that the suspected drunk driver, who is a convicted felon, was said to have been driving on a suspended license at the time of the incident. 

According to details provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Michael Magli was identified as the deputy killed during the February 17th incident. 

Officials say the series of events started when rescue crews had responded to reports of a man, later identified as 33-year-old Robert Holzaepfel, who’d fallen asleep behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 at a red light. 

When members of said crew had busted open Holzaepfel’s driver’s side window, he’d reportedly woke up and fled the area. 

Deputies who were on the scene attempted to stop Holzaepfel as he was reportedly driving down Keystone Road in a reckless manner. Deputy Magli had reportedly deployed some stop sticks to disable the suspect’s vehicle near Eastlake Road and Forelock Road. 

After said stop sticks were deployed, Holzaepfel was said to have lost control of the vehicle and wound up driving directly into Deputy Magli.

Unfortunately, the deputy was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri described the incident during a press briefing: 

“As Deputy Magli got out of his cruiser, he removed the stop sticks from the rear of the car and then moved to the road so he could deploy the stop sticks.”

“As he was moving to the west on the median, the suspect’s vehicle spun out, flipped over, and very very violently slammed into Deputy Magli and his cruiser.”

“The cruiser did about a 180-degree spinout, Deputy Magli was pinned under the car…and he is deceased.”

According to Sheriff Gualtieri, Holzaepfel was intoxicated during the incident. Reports also showcase that the suspect has 16 prior felony convictions and was driving with a suspended license during the incident. 

Holzaepfel was said to have been taken into custody, with charges against the suspect pending as of this writing. 

Deputy Magli leaves behind a wife and two young children with his passing. He was said to have been with the sheriff’s department for eight years, and is the first line of duty death for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shared his condolences on Twitter on the day Deputy Magli passed away: 

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Deputy Michael Magli, killed today in the line of duty. [Casey DeSantis] and I are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers, as well as the entire [Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office] family. His service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

Sheriff Gualtieri described the fallen deputy’s final acts before his death as a means to “protect people”: 

“It was a situation where the person needed to be stopped. Otherwise, he was going to hurt someone else.”

“Deputy Magli was trying to protect people. He was trying to keep others from being hurt by this guy who is driving like a maniac, drunk, reckless, going to hurt somebody so he stepped up like cops do.”

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Merely days before Deputy Magli’s passing, we at Law Enforcement Today shared the saddening news of a Dallas Police officer who was reportedly killed by a suspect drunk driver. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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DALLAS, TX – A Dallas Police officer was reportedly killed while actively trying to secure the scene of a accident on the early morning hours of February 13th, according to reports.

Police officials say that the officer was killed after a suspected drunk driver crash into the officer’s patrol unit – which then caused the patrol unit to hit the officer.

Dallas Police officials have identified the fallen officer as Officer Mitchell Penton.

The incident was said to have occurred at approximately 1:25 a.m., where a 32-year-old male suspect was said to have been, “driving at a high rate of speed,” while Officer Penton was in the midst of securing the scene of an accident in the northbound lanes of North Central Expressway at Walnut Hill Lane with his cruiser lights illuminated.

Officials say that the 32-year-old suspect had crashed into Officer Penton’s cruiser, which then caused the cruiser to collide with the officer. Officer Penton was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The suspect, later identified as Phillip Mabry, was said to have been arrested under charges of intoxication manslaughter on a police officer and intoxication assault.

Officer Mitchell Penton - Dallas Police Department
Officer Mitchell Penton – Dallas Police Department

A passenger inside of the suspect’s vehicle was said to have been hospitalized following the collision, “for trauma to her chest area and a laceration on her face,” according to police officials.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia had the following to say regarding the DPD’s recent loss:

“Our hearts are heavy right now. This young officer had such a bright future ahead of him. We asked that the community join us as we pray for the officer’s family. We would also like to extend that prayer to the brave men and women of this great department.”

Officer Penton was still a trainee with the DPD – having joined the department back in February of 2019.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson also released a statement following the news of the officer’s death:

“Dallas mourns today over the devastating loss of one of our police officers. He died far too young, but the measure of a life is not longevity, but what someone does with the time they have.”

“And this officer dedicated his time to serving our great city in an inherently dangerous job. We are forever indebted to him and forever heartbroken by this tragedy.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also delivered a statement regarding the death of Officer Penton:

“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of the Dallas Police Department officer who was killed in the line of duty this morning.”

“This terrible loss is a solemn reminder of the risks our brave law enforcement officers face while serving and protecting our communities. Cecilia and I ask our fellow Texans to join us in lifting up the officer’s family and the entire Dallas Police Department in prayer during this difficult time.”

Officer Penton leaves behind his wife, who is reportedly pregnant with their first child.

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The post Officer down: Young deputy killed by suspected drunk driver – a convicted felon with a suspended license appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt


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