TARPON SPRINGS — A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy died at the scene of a crash Feb. 17 after a suspect struck him on East Lake Road near Forelock Road.
Deputies responded to that intersection about 4:25 p.m. in unincorporated Tarpon Springs. Detectives say Robert Allen Holzaepfel. 33, a transient was passed out behind the wheel of a 2002 Ford F150 stopped at a red light.
Rescue workers were first on scene and they broke out a window to gain access to the man.
Detectives say Holzaepfel fled the scene traveling north on East Lake Road. He continued to drive recklessly, traveling east on Keystone Road continuing to evade deputies.
Holzaepfel made a U-turn driving over a curb traveling back to East Lake Road where he stopped at the red light. Deputies attempted a traffic stop; however, he fled south on East Lake Road.
According to investigators, Deputy Michael J. Magli, 30, was traveling north on East Lake Road and stopped in the median to deploy a tire deflation device. Magli was standing outside of his vehicle when Holzaepfel entered the median, lost control of his truck, and struck Magli.
Deputy Magli was pinned under his patrol vehicle and was pronounced deceased on scene.
Deputy Magli has been with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office since 2013 and was assigned to the Patrol Operations Bureau. He is survived by his wife, two young children and his parents.
Deputies say East Lake Road between Forelock Road and Keystone Road will likely remain closed through tomorrow morning, Feb. 18.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash. Charges for Holzaepfel have not yet been determined. The investigation continues.