Two off-duty law enforcement officers were struck and killed while standing on the shoulder of I-270 in Montgomery County, Maryland at the scene of a traffic crash, police said.
Around 10 p.m., Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander B. Cohen, 33, was on I-270 near the single-vehicle crash. He requested assistance for FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff, 36. Cohen used his car to block the damaged vehicle from oncoming traffic.
Both men moved over to the should of the fast lane when a southbound vehicle began to approach them.
Maryland State Police said 28-year-old Roberto A. Garza Palacios, the driver of that vehicle, swerved to avoid hitting vehicles in one lane and ended up hitting the officers.
Both Cohen and Wolff were thrown over the jersey wall to the northbound side of I-270, where it appears at least one of them was struck by a northbound vehicle.
The driver of that vehicle has been identified as 32-year-old Brittany A. Waters.
According to officials, Cohen died on the scene, and Wolff was transported to Suburban Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
People who knew Sander Cohen best said they would remember his smile, dry sense of humor and kind heart.
Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said, “He was well respected and dedicated. He had a dedication and drove to help in the community as demonstrated Friday night when he pulled over for an accident scene.”
The Palacios and one passenger in that vehicle were taken to Suburban Hospital.
A second passenger in that car was taken to Shady Grove Hospital. Water did not report any injuries.
Police said there is no indication of alcohol involvement in these crashes. The causes of the initial crash remain under investigation.
No charges have been filed at this time.
No additional information has been released at this time.