I pass by the Satellite Beach Police Department frequently visiting family who live in Michigan Beach. During one of those trips last week I noticed the name of the building, Hartmann Flagg, and wondered how I had been a beachside resident for 28 years and did not know who Hartmann Flagg was. Curiosity getting the best of me here’s what I discovered.
Sargent Edward Hartmann and Officer Phillip Flagg were Satellite Beach police officers who were killed by a drunk driver on May 31, 1992 during a routine call. They had a car full of juveniles pulled over for drug and alcohol violations at 1:50am when a Cocoa Beach resident, Kevin O’Neill, with a blood alcohol level of 0.22 hit the officers.
That crash is the greatest tragedy in the Satellite Beach police department’s history. It had a deep impact on the small police force. Other Brevard forces, including the Brevard County Sherriff, Palm Bay and Indian Harbour Beach police, got together and helped patrol Satellite Beach for the five days following the accident while the remaining 14 Satellite Beach officers grieved.
O’Neill was sentenced to 30 years in prison on two counts of DUI manslaughter. He was released in August of 2011, 11 years early after earning 4,103 days of “gain time.” A habitual criminal he received less credit for time served and good behavior than other inmates. O’Neill’s father, a former law enforcement officer, offered condolences.
The building was renamed the Hartmann Flagg on May 31, 2002, the 10th anniversary of their passing.