ROCKVILLE, Md. - Two law enforcement officials will be laid to rest later this week, after they were both tragically struck and killed Friday night in a violent crash along I-270.
The crash that killed Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Sander Cohen and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff is still under investigation, but preliminary reports suggest alcohol was not a factor with either car that hit them.
Some of Lt. Cohens' closest friends who worked with him at Rockville Volunteer Fire Department still haven't left his parents' side since the accident happened.
The front sign of the fire department is draped in black bunting as a tribute to the selfless man who volunteered his time at the station for more than 14 years, and worked as a fire marshal for the state of Maryland.
"While we are here and still providing service, it hasn't hit most of us yet. We are waiting for Sander to pop up it's just not real," says Eric Bernard, President of Rockville Volunteer Fire Department.
Deputy Chief Sander Cohen was killed Friday night along I-270 after pulling over to help a fellow law enforcement officer in need. And his death is a tough one for those at Rockville Fire Station 3.
"Here we average two to three times every single day a crash on 270. Where our units, our rescue squad, our fire engine respond, and unfortunately on that Friday night, our volunteers and career professionals are working on their lieutenant. The heartbreak felt in this organization is just incredible," says Bernard.
Investigators say Cohen stopped to help the driver of an SUV stranded in the far left lane of I-270 South near Falls Road. The driver ended up being Carlos Wolff, a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.
Cohen put his personal car behind Wolff's SUV and turned on his flashers. That's when police say a driver heading southbound swerved onto the shoulder and struck both men who were standing outside of their cars.
"He stopped and he was in his personal vehicle so he did not have emergency lights but he put his emergency flashers on and did his best to illuminate and protect the scene," says Bernard.
Cohen and Wolff both died at the scene. The three people in the striking car were taken to the hospital.
The crash is still under investigation and it's unclear at this point why FBI agent Wolff's car struck the concrete barrier and became disabled in the fast lane.
"That's why we stress to drivers you have to be attentive at all times, they may not have been drinking, they may not have been drunk or talking on the cell phone, but if you don't have full attention you cannot control your car," says Bernard.
Special Agent Carlos Wolff, an 11-year veteran with the FBI, leaves behind a wife and two children.
Both men's funerals are planned for Thursday morning, Cohen's will be in Rockville and Wolff's in Gaithersburg.