Dead After Crash on I-270 in Montgomery County

Lawrence Kim
December 11, 2017

Authorities continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding a crash late Friday on Interstate 270 in Maryland that killed two public-safety officers.

At about 10 p.m. Friday, one of the officers was at the scene of a single-vehicle traffic crash on southbound I-270. He requested assistance and blocked the approach to the damaged vehicles with his personal vehicle and activated his emergency flashers.

Police say his actions placed him in an official capacity at that time.

It is with deepest sorrow RVFD announces the death of Lt. Sander Cohen as the result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle incident on I270 on Friday December 8, 2017. They were struck by a vehicle that approached the scene and apparently swerved to avoid traffic. Both men were thrown over the road partition, where at least one of them was struck by a auto traveling northbound.

The driver and one passenger in the auto that struck the officers were also taken to Suburban Hospital, while a second passenger was taken to Shady Grove Hospital.

One man was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was taken to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the southbound vehicle was identified as Roberto A. Garza Palacios, 28, of Germantown, Md. A second passenger in that auto was taken to Shady Grove Hospital.

The driver of the Acura did not report being injured.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff, 36, and Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander Cohen, 33, died when they were struck by a auto as they waited for help after Wolff's vehicle crashed on Interstate 270 in Rockville.

Cohen, a decorated fire marshal, had been a member of the Office of the State Fire Marshal for nine years. He was responsible for supervising fire investigations in Carroll, Harford, and Cecil counties.

Cohen was also a lieutenant with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department.

Maryland State Police are scheduled to hold a press conference at 10 Rockville to provide additional details about the crash. "He just recognized that someone needed help and he never hesitated last night to stop and help someone in need". "He stopped, he helped someone in need, and now he has joined the ranks of Maryland's fallen heroes", Pallozzi said.

Wolff was 36-years-old and Supervisory Special Agent with an 11-year tenure at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For reason still unknown, police believe that his auto hit the concrete barrier on the left side of the highway.

Police say alcohol consumption is not a factor in these crashes.

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