A Maryland Episcopal Bishop has been indicted for the death of a Baltimore bicyclist.
Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook was indicted Wednesday on a total of 13 charges after Cook hit bicyclist Thomas Palermo on December 27, causing his death due to the fact that not only was she drunk, but also texting and driving.
— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@cbsbaltimore) February 4, 2015
The list of charges includes “homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol; driving while impaired; texting while driving during an accident that results in death or serious bodily injury; reckless driving; and negligent driving.”
According to the Washington Post, “Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State’s Attorney, had announced on January 9 that her office was charging the 58-year-old cleric from the Diocese of Maryland” with the death of Palermo. Prosecutors stated that with being indicted, there also comes the possibility of 20 years in prison.
According to the Baltimore Sun, “Cook has been free on bail while awaiting trial.”
Bishop Heather Cook’s bail set at $2.5 million: A $2.5 million bail was set for Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook after… http://t.co/yTOC24yNfk
— Baltimore Press (@BaltimoreCP) January 10, 2015
While Cook has a court appearance Friday, her trial is set for March 5.
Officials say that the 41-year-old man was riding his bicycle in the actual bicycle lane on Roland Lane when Cook hit him. Cook originally left the scene but later returned. When the police tested her, Cook “registered a 0.22 percent blood-alcohol content level.”
After news of being indicted, Cook’s attorney, David Irwin, was asked for a comment but declined. Her diocese was also asked for a comment.
Dan Webster, the dioceses’ spokesman, said, “We have nothing to say… It’s a legal matter, and certainly our congregation is continuing to pray for her as she winds through the legal process.”
Some of her congregation are doing less praying and more accusing, though. News has come that Cook has a history of drunk driving that the diocese was “initially reluctant to share.”
Cook, who was the church’s first female bishop, had been found guilty of drunk driving before, but Bishop Eugene Sutton “didn’t push Cook to discuss her drinking… explaining that they were trying to respect her privacy.”
Their bishop being indicted for the death of a man has left many Episcopalians upset, asking for Cook’s resignation.
Diocese shouldn’t have left bishop’s drinking problem in the hands of God. Suspected drunk @ her installment. http://t.co/4zTf3paXa5
— Nancy Duley (@nduley) February 5, 2015
“Bishop Cook is out on 2.5 million dollars bail…” ExCUSE me? pic.twitter.com/wy5VEeRyn6
— Jackie Over It (@BoyandPiano) February 5, 2015
Bishop Cook has been in a treatment facility since there was first talk of being indicted for the death of Thomas Palermo.
[Photo Courtesy of The Baltimore Sun]