Colonel William Pazzolli, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, and Brian Geraci, the State Fire Marshal, sadly report the death of Deputy Chief Sander Cohen of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Deputy Chief Cohen, 33, was driving southbound on the interstate freeway after his normal shift. He stopped at the scene of a single vehicle crash that was blocking the left hand lane of the freeway.
Cohen activated his emergency flashers and checked on the well being of the driver of the vehicle. Upon ascertaining there were no injuries, the deputy chief contacted the local barracks of the State Police and advised of the crash and the injury status.
Cohen and the driver, off duty supervising special agent of the FBI, Carlos Wolff, 36, were standing on the shoulder of the roadway waiting for a State Police trooper to arrive and investigate the crash.
While waiting, another vehicle came upon the accident scene. The driver was traveling too fast for conditions and abruptly swerved to avoid the collision. Unfortunately the driver lost control of his vehicle and struck Cohen and Wolff. Both officers were catapulted into the air and over the median barrier. They landed in the northbound lanes of the freeway. Cohen was then struck by a vehicle traveling northbound. As a result, he died at the scene.
Wolff was transported to Suburban Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The First Lady and I are heartbroken to learn of the tragic loss of two law enforcement officers who were struck and killed last night on I-270. We are praying for their families and loved ones in this time of grief. https://t.co/B6ALjUDde9
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) December 9, 2017
“Deputy Chief Cohen had no idea that inside the vehicle he stopped to help was another law enforcement officer,” said Pallozzi. “Deputy Chief Cohen never hesitated to provide that help.”
The state fire marshal added, “Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander Cohen was an exemplary investigator and leader who took great pride in his law enforcement career and who devoted himself to protecting and serving the citizens of Maryland.” Geraci continued. “Sander will be missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him. We will forever keep the Cohen family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Sander Cohen had served in the Maryland State Police, Fire Marshal’s Office for nine years. He also served as a lieutenant and firefighter with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department.
Cohen was off duty at the time of the crash, reported WTOP. However, Pallozzi said his death would be considered “a line of duty death.”
“The actions he took to preserve life and protect property placed him in an official capacity at that time,” Pallozzi said. “The heroes of law enforcement and fire service are on the job every day and every night, on duty or off duty, they’re there to serve.”
Deputy Chief Sander Cohen is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Friday, December 8, 2017.