WASHINGTON – An illegal-alien motorist ran down an FBI agent and a fire marshal just outside the nation’s capital but got no jail time, did not have to appear for trial and was fined $280 for the “careless” driving.
Roberto Garza Palacios, 28, who arrived in the U.S. from Guatemala and overstayed his visa was found guilty of driving in a “careless and imprudent manner,” but without “gross deviation,” in a hearing in which he did not have to appear last month. He was not held responsible for the deaths of Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander Cohen and FBI Special Agent Carlos Wolff in December of last year.
The case is now closed as he paid his fine June 25.
Cohen and Wolf were standing on the side of the road on I-270 in Montgomery County, Maryland, when they were struck by the Honda Accord driven by Garza Palacios. Wolff crashed earlier and Cohen had stopped to help. Garza Palacios told authorities that he couldn’t swerve right and went left – not seeing the two men. His vehicle struck Wolff and another car hit Cohen at the crash scene. Wolff died in the hospital while Cohen died at the scene.
“This case is about an unfortunate accident,” said Garza Palacios’ attorney Asim Humayun. “Mr. Garza Palacios feels terrible about the situation.”
Garza Palacios, a native of Guatemala, still faces possible deportation. On May 3, immigration authorities arrested him after the accident and charged him with overstaying a visa that expired in 2009. In 2015, Garza Palacios was arrested in Montgomery County and ICE asked him to be placed on hold, but that request was not honored. Humayun stated that the immigration case is still ongoing. Garza Palacios pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in 2015. He served a four-month stint in jail after smashing windows on 16 cars and lighting a sofa on fire near a construction site.