The Rt. Rev. Heather Cook, Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, has been charged with manslaughter for allegedly driving drunk and sending text messages when she struck and killed a bicyclist, Thomas Palermo, on December 27 in North Roland Park, Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reported on Friday.
Bishop Cook, 58, surrendered to police Friday afternoon. Bail was set at $2.5 million.
The Sun reported that Bishop Cook faces numerous other charges, including leaving the scene of the fatal accident and driving under the influence. The charges of manslaughter and leaving the scene each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Cook’s breath alchol level was recorded at 0.22 percent, accoding to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, nearly triple the legal limit in Maryland.
“I want to thank the Baltimore Police Department and the State’s Attorney’s office for the thoroughness and care by which they have handled and investigated this case,” said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, in a statement from the diocese following the announcement of the charges.
“On behalf of everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, please know that we are deeply heartbroken over this, and we cry for the Palermo family, our sister Heather and all in the community who are hurting,” Sutton said. “Our Lord Jesus would be a healing presence in the midst of this tragic situation, and we are seeking ways to walk in his footsteps in the days and months ahead. As we do so we are truly being the church, and we will always be guided by our core Christian values of personal accountability, compassion and respect for the rule of law.”
Read the full statement from the Diocese of Maryland
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