Maryland: Boozing Baltimore Bishop killed bicyclist now charged with DUI homicide, held on $2.5 million bail

Boozing Bishop hit killed and ran

From The Chesapeake Today

Update Jan. 10, 2015

Boozing Bishop Killed and Ran; Now Faces DUI Manslaughter Charges

BALTIMORE, MD. — Episcopal Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook, of 8 Knoll Ridge Court Apt. 1722 in Baltimore, Md., has been charged with DUI homicide by Baltimore Police Candice N. White following her killing a bicyclist near Roland Park and then fleeing the scene, leaving the man to die. Witnesses chased her to a nearby gate community where a guard refused to allow them to enter in order to get her tag number. The Bishop’s blood alcohol level was .22 when tested.

The bicyclist, Tom Palermo, was propelled into the Bishop’s windshield, demolishing it and then was flung to the pavement. The Bishop could have attempted to aid her victim, call 911 or even give him last rites; instead she fled.

Police say she had been texting on her cell phone when she mowed down Palermo who was in a bike lane for an Saturday afternoon ride.

Protests of her actions and slow progress of Baltimore Police in making an arrest in the Dec. 27, 2014 fatal crash has been demonstrated by those outraged over the incident with marches and a bike ride with hundreds in attendance.

In a 2010 DUI arrest in Caroline County, Md., Bishop Cook had vomit down the front of her clothing and two bags of pot with her when she failed sobriety tests and was arrested. Her BAC was .27 in that arrest. In spite of that incident, the Episcopal Diocese of Baltimore promoted her to be the first woman Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun published a report in 1977, Cook’s father, the Rev. Halsey Cook, told his congregation at Old St. Paul’s that he was an alcoholic, had suffered a relapse and was seeking treatment. He said that alcoholism is a fatal disease in society.

The charges were filed in Baltimore District Court on Jan. 9, 2015.

The Bishop was arrested and committed to the Detention Center on that date. Bail was set at $2.5 million. If convicted, she could become a prison priest for the next twenty years.



Bishop who killed bicyclist and fled the scene was DUI in 2010; pot charges were dropped

BALTIMORE, MD. — An Episcopal Bishop with a DUI conviction on her record and pot packing in her history with police apparently nailed and killed a Baltimore man who was riding his bike on Sunday. No charges have been placed yet against Heather Elizabeth Cook, 58, the first woman Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, who, perhaps had too much communion wine at Sunday services.

The Baltimore Sun reports that when the Bishop saw what she had done, she fled the scene.

Thomas Palermo, 41, was pronounced dead at a hospital and Bishop Cook passed up the chance to give last rites to her victim.

Baltimore Police Investigators reported that they were on the scene of a fatal accident involving a bicycle in the 5700 block of Roland Avenue.

On Sept. 10, 2010 Caroline County Sheriff’s Deputy J. Reiby cited Rev. Cook with DWI, possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. On Oct. 25, 2010, the DUI charge was dropped in Caroline County Court by States Attorney Jonathan Newell.

Cook, a resident of Cabin Creek Road in Hurlock, Md., entered a plea of guilty for the DWI charge. She received a probation before judgment, was fined $800 but $500 of the fine was suspended. No jail time was ordered by the plea deal.

Bishop Cook was represented by Dennis J. Farina, of Denton, who was able to convince States Attorney Newell to drop the criminal charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

Witnesses on the scene who saw Bishop Cook flee told the Baltimore Brew that Palermo was still alive after being struck and had Cook not fled she might have been able to render assistance or call for help. Cook reportedly returned about twenty minutes later, giving her plenty of time to possibly make a claim of having taken a couple of drinks during that time period.

Maryland law requires a blood draw to determine impairment for motorists involved in a fatal or critical crash.

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