Maryland

Funerals Held for FBI Agent, Fire Marshal Killed in Rockville Crash

Fire marshal Sander Cohen "dedicated his life to public service and never hesitated to offer a helping hand, right up to his last breath," Maryland's governor said

The FBI agent and state fire marshal who were hit by a car and killed in Montgomery County, Maryland, earlier this month are being remembered at funerals Thursday.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff, 36, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander Cohen, 33, died after they were stopped on I-270 and hit by a car. 

The men were hit after Wolff's car hit the concrete barrier on the left side of the highway and became disabled in the fast lane. Cohen stopped to help him and was killed in the line of duty. 

Cohen, who also was a volunteer firefighter, was remembered with full honors at B'nai Israel Congregation in Rockville. Fire and police personnel from across the state were in attendance, and Gov. Larry Hogan spoke. 

"I'm here today as governor of Maryland, representing all the people of a grateful state, to honor the sacrifice of one our true heroes -- a man who dedicated his life to public service and never hesitated to offer a helping hand, right up to his last breath" Hogan said, wearing a yarmulke as a sign of respect.

Along Maryland Route 200, fire personnel stood outside their vehicles and saluted Cohen's casket as it passed, Chopper4 video shows. 

"Sander was very, well well-known across the state as a whole," Chief James Vagonis of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department said. "He touched the lives of a lot of different people across the state."

Wolff was honored in a private service at Church of the Redeemer in Gaithersburg. 

Police said Cohen called state police about 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 and reported a single-car crash on I-270 southbound. He asked for assistance, blocked the lane with his personal vehicle and activated his emergency flashers.

As Wolff, the driver of the damaged vehicle, stood with Cohen on the shoulder of the lane, a Honda swerved and hit both men. They both were thrown over the jersey wall into northbound traffic. One of the men was then hit by an Acura headed northbound. 

Cohen was pronounced dead the scene. Wolff was taken to Suburban Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Three other people were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The cause of the initial and subsequent crashes are under investigation by Maryland State Police. There is no preliminary indication that any of the drivers were under the influence of alcohol. No charges were filed. 

Col. William Pallozzi, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, previously said Cohen had no idea Wolff was an FBI agent when he stopped to help him.

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"He stopped, he helped someone in need, and now he has joined the ranks of Maryland's fallen heroes,'' Pallozzi said.

Cohen was a lieutenant with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department. The call for the crash came in at Cohen's own fire station, and a fellow firefighter was the first one on the scene.

"[The firefighter] found him in the road and started CPR and started breathing for him and, unfortunately, she discovered, looked and recognized him," Eric Bernard, president of the Rockville Fire Department, previously said. "It was very traumatic for her and the shifts."

Cohen had volunteered since he was just 16.

Wolff leaves behind a wife and two children. He was a graduate of American University.

"Our Carlos was an amazing father, husband, uncle and brother who made us all very proud," his family said in a statement. "He loved serving his country as a part of the FBI. He was always so helpful and giving, not just to his friends but strangers too. Our hearts are broken. We appreciate your prayers during this difficult time."

Wolff worked for 11 years in the investigative division of FBI headquarters, a representative said.

Maryland's governor ended his remarks honoring Cohen with these words: "The state is grateful. We say thank you, God bless you and farewell." 

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