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The 25-year-old twin brother of a Chicago Bears running back was electrocuted after allegedly fleeing the scene of a car wreck in North Carolina this weekend.
Tyrell Antar Cohen’s body was discovered near a “high voltage” electric substation in Raleigh, hours after his Jeep was found “overturned” on an interstate ramp, authorities said. Cohen is the twin brother of NFL player Tarik Cohen.
On May 8, troopers responded to reports of a collision on Interstate 540 outside Raleigh shortly before 3 a.m.. Authorities found a 2014 Jeep, which had struck a concrete basin and flipped over near a highway ramp.
A witness who reported the wreck told emergency dispatchers the Jeep’s occupants “may be intoxicated,” according to dispatcher call logs obtained by Oxygen.com. Cohen later “jumped” out of the Jeep and ran into a “wooded area,” authorities said.
“Law enforcement attempted to find the driver of this vehicle in an adjacent area and was unable to locate anyone,” Sgt. Christopher Knox, of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, told Oxygen.com.
Raleigh police later scoured the area with a K-9 team but were unable to locate Cohen.
A male passenger, who was located on-scene, was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. The pair had left a nearby pub shortly before the accident, Eric Curry, a spokesperson for the Wake County Sheriff's Office, told Oxygen.com.
On May 9, a Duke Energy power plant worker found a man's body in a fenced area about less than a mile from the scene of the collision. The man was positively identified as Cohen.
Investigators suspect Cohen scaled a substation fence and was electrocuted after touching a live transformer box.
“He came in contact with live energy within the substation and he died of what we believe to be electrocution,” Curry told Oxygen.com. “[He] then attempted to try to find a space to hide and climbed on one of the pieces of equipment which was live and was electrocuted.”
Cohen may have been “afraid” and climbed the power station’s fence in an attempt to conceal himself from police and search dogs, according to officials.
“He climbed the fence with barbed wire on top and he may have been aware Raleigh Police had K9s in the area,” Curry added. “He may have tried to find a hiding spot, a higher spot off the ground.”
The Duke Energy electric substation powers approximately 30,000 homes in the area, authorities said.
On Monday, Raleigh Police Department spokesperson Donna-maria Harris said that the department regularly uses K9 units in searches for missing persons and suspects. Harris also said that “we cannot speak to why Mr. Cohen fled the scene and we will not speculate.”
Foul play isn’t suspected in Cohen’s death. His cause and manner of death weren’t immediately available. It remains unclear what triggered the wreck. A collision report wasn’t publicly available as of Monday morning. Toxicology results are also pending.
“The causative factors are still under investigation,” Knox stated. “I don’t know why he would wreck and flee. He was fleeing on his own accord. If you get in a wreck, you notify law enforcement, you remain on the scene, those are your legal obligations. Why he fled, we don’t know at this point.”
Cohen’s family has since issued a statement asking for family privacy in the wake of his death.
“I lost my brother, my twin, myself,” Tarik Cohen wrote on Twitter Monday morning. “What a great man he was. I’m glad i got to express just how much I love him while he was here. God truly calls home the best and most worthy. I’ll just miss him forever.”
Tarik Cohen was drafted 119th overall by the Chicago Bears in 2017. In his past four NFL seasons, the former North Carolina A&T running back has racked up more than 1,000 yards. He played in the 2019 Pro Bowl but was sidelined for most of last season due to a knee injury.
“While we appreciate the condolences thoughts and prayers, we ask that you respect our privacy during this time,” Cohen added. “Let us grieve. Please and thanks.”
The Chicago Bears also issued a statement on social media following news of Tyrell Cohen’s passing.
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