HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — This week, Hillsborough County leaders are taking steps to honor two law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty: Hillsborough County Sergeant Brian LaVigne and Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen. They're expected to pass a resolution to rename roads in their honor.
Pinellas County is also working to rename a roadway for Deputy Michael Magli.
Sergeant Brian LaVigne was killed on January 11, 2021, when his patrol car was intentionally rammed by another vehicle on West Lumsden Road, near South King’s Avenue, in Brandon. He was killed the day before his last scheduled shift before retirement.
"You imagine the heartache that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office is experiencing right now," said Sheriff Chad Chronister, shortly after LaVigne's death in January 2021.
Then, a little more than a month later, Deputy Michael Magli, a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy, died after a drunk driver slammed into his patrol car.
"Deputy Magli was trying to protect people," said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri with Pinellas County. "He was trying to keep others from being hurt by this guy who's driving like a maniac, drunk. reckless."
Magli had served the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for eight years.
Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen was killed on March 9 trying to stop a wrong-way driver on I-275. Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Officer Madsen was hit head-on after he deliberately put his vehicle into the path of the wrong-way driver.
"We believe Jesse Madsen was attempting to stop this wrong-way driver from putting anyone else's life in danger by putting down his own," Dugan said.
Now, the Florida Department of Transportation, Pinellas and Hillsborough County leaders, law enforcement agencies, and the families of the fallen officers will all work together to rename portions of the road where the crashes happened in their honor.
C.R. 611/E. Lake Road between Forelock Road and Keystone Road in Pinellas County will be renamed as “Deputy Michael J. Magli Memorial Road.”
In Hillsborough, State Road 60, between I-75 and Phillip Lee Boulevard will be similarly renamed for Lavigne.
Additionally, I-275 between Sligh Avenue and MLK Blvd. in Tampa will be renamed for Madsen.
This all comes as FDOT is working to add more wrong-way detection technology to roadways in order to prevent further tragedies.
FDOT said these programs include flashing signs with radar detection at exit ramps. There will also be an increase in wrong-way signage, reflectors, and pavement markings to help drivers identify the proper entrance and exit ramps of the interstate.
The state has also just added new detection equipment along the Howard Frankland Bridge.