Driver who struck, killed 2 officers on I-270 in Montgomery County faces $280 fine, officials say

A driver who officials said struck and killed two officers on Interstate 270 in Montgomery County has been charged and faces a $280 fine and points against his license, according to officials.

The driver, 28-year-old Roberto A. Garza Palacios of Germantown, was charged with negligent driving in connection with the crash that killed 33-year-old Sander Cohen and 36-year-old Carlos Wolff, officials announced.

Cohen was the deputy chief of the Maryland State Police Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office and Wolff was an FBI supervisory special agent.

Authorities said Wolff was involved in a crash on southbound I-270 near Falls Road and Cohen stopped to help him at about 10 p.m. on Dec. 8.

Officials said Cohen turned on his emergency flashers, positioned his vehicle to help block Wolff's damaged vehicle and called police for help. Investigators said Wolff and Cohen were both standing outside their vehicles on the shoulder of the left lane when the fatal crash occurred. Wolff was off-duty at the time and officials said though Cohen was originally off-duty, his actions placed him in an official on-duty status at the time.

Investigators said Palacios was driving in the left lane and attempted to get over to the right lane but was blocked by traffic. Palacios then swerved to the left of the two vehicles and struck Wolff and Cohen, according to police.

Both victims were thrown over the median and into the northbound lanes of I-270. Cohen died at the scene and Wolff died after being rushed to the hospital.

Palacios remained at the scene and investigators determined alcohol, drugs and speed were not factors in the crash. Palacios met with state police in Rockville in April and was issued a citation for negligent driving. The penalty carries a $280 fine and three points against his license.