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. Unfortunately, the incident claimed the life of another member of the law enforcement family. Special Agent Carlos Wolff of the FBI died in the same tragic collision.
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.
Wolff, 36, was the driver involved in the collision.
Cohen and Wolff 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, reported WBALTV.
The driver and a passenger inside the vehicle that first struck the men were taken to Suburban Hospital. Another passenger was taken to Shady Grove Hospital.
The driver of the car traveling northbound was not injured.
State police said there is no preliminary indication of alcohol involved in the crashes.
No charges have been filed, and an investigation continues. All drivers, who have been identified, remained at the scene.
Wolff worked in the Baltimore Division of the FBI.
“This is an extremely sad day for all of us who protect and serve the community. Please pray for the law enforcement community in Maryland,” said Gordon Johnson with the FBI Baltimore Division.
Wolff was an 11-year veteran of the FBI.
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.”
Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff, who passed away last night after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Please keep SSA Wolff and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
— FBI Baltimore (@FBIBaltimore) December 9, 2017
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.”
Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Friday, December 8, 2017.