Bishop Cook, accused of hitting cyclist Thomas Palermo with her while driving drunk and distracted has been indicted. She could be on track for a long sentence.
The charges include automobile manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. Other charges in the indictment include 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.
Cook has been free on bail while awaiting trial; she is scheduled for arraignment March 5.
while riding his bike home, Kyra’s husband Brian was attacked with a knife by a teenager. He was riding near 7th and L Streets SE when he ran into the teens. One of them stepped out onto the street and stabbed him on the chest. Although Brian is fine –he only required a staple and antibiotics– his story is a painful reminder that there are those out there who can and do hurt others.
Update: Here's another description
A NAVSEA 05 employee was assaulted on his way home from work yesterday (~1730 13 Jan 15). He was riding his bike north on 7th street between K & L in SE DC (in vicinity of Marine Barracks). He noticed a group of kids, and one came out between the cars and stabbed him in the chest.
Bishop Heather Cook - who had previously pleaded guilty to a 2010 drunken driving charge in which she registered a .27 blood alcohol level - and more recently struck and killed cyclist Thomas Palermo with her car, reportedly registered a .22 blood alcohol level after the crash and is being charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
But, in addition to being drunk, she was also texting while driving, which places her off the irresponsible chart. It just doesn't go that high.
Sharon J. Tillman, a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Church, said officials were aware Cook had been drinking before the accident and had been texting while driving, but police requested they withhold certain information.
Mosby alleged that Cook was texting, and that Palermo was in the bike lane when Cook's vehicle veered into his lane and struck him.
I can't say I'm surprised, but I had really hoped that she had not been drinking. Perhaps this will lead to stronger oversight of DUI offenders, but I doubt it.
Update: Here's a full list of what Cook will be charged with
– Negligent manslaughter by vehicle (Max 10 years and/or $5,000 fine) – Criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle (Max 3 years and/or $5,000 fine) – Negligently driving under the influence resulting in a homicide (Max 5 years and/or $5,000 fine) – Negligent homicide involving an auto or boat while impaired (Max 3 years and/or $5,000 fine) – Duty of driver to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury – Duty of driver to remain at an accident resulting in death – Use of a text messaging device while driving causing an accident with death or serious bodily injury – Driving under the influence of alcohol
According to Mosby, Both Palermo and Cook were traveling southbound on Roland Avenue when Cook, who was texting while driving at the time of the collision, veered off to the right and into the bike lane, striking Palermo from the rear which caused him to hit the hood and windshield of Cook’s 2001 Subaru before being thrown to the right hand side and then coming to a final rest against the west side curb.
Cook allegedly failed to remain at the scene of the accident, and continued south on Roland Avenue before returning roughly 30 minutes later but continuing past the scene to her home.
Cook then left her apartment shortly after her arrival and returned to the scene. She was then was transported from the scene to a local police station where she was given a breathalyzer test.
Prosecutors said Colbert hit bicyclists Katie Pohler, 23, and Todd Green, 27, while she was driving on June 28 on Route 450 near Brice Lane in the Annapolis area. Officials said the victims were in the dedicated bike lane and that Colbert drifted into them.
Pohler and Green were flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where Pohler underwent treatment for critical injuries. Green was treated and released, but Pohler is still recovering.
Officials said Colbert had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 at the time, which is nearly double the legal limit. She had also been driving with a 3-year-old relative in the car, prosecutors said.
Frankly, she was lucky that her two victims were young and healthy. Some other cyclists might not have survived. In fact, if one of them later dies from complications due to their injuries, I suppose she could be charged with some form of homicide.
By her mother’s account, 53-year-old Tonya Reaves rode her bike everywhere, no matter the time of day. Donna Hill said her daughter used to pedal home when she got off late from her former job at Pizza Hut, and she would frequently bike to her boyfriend’s house or even just for fun.
Although witness accounts in court papers have shifted and are contradictory, two people said that the young woman studying to be a surgical nurse or nursing-home worker ran over Reaves slowly after striking her, inflicting gruesome and fatal injuries.
And about the investigation.
The investigation proved complicated, as witnesses’ stories to police shifted in the days that followed, court papers show.
When police arrived at Eighth and S streets NW, they found Reaves’s bicycle in a crosswalk and two apparent witnesses, one of whom claimed to have been on foot while observing a sport-utility vehicle hit Reaves, according to a police affidavit. Both people would later admit to being in the vehicle that hit Reaves and claim that Thomas was driving, although one first pointed to another person as the driver, according to the affidavit.
Investigators tracked down four people who claimed to be in the car during the crash, and all four alleged that Thomas was the driver, according to the affidavit. One person told investigators that the group had just left the New Town bar on U Street and that Thomas had been drinking, according to the affidavit.
But that account was backed up by only one person, who claimed that Thomas was drinking vodka and lemonade and smoking marijuana, according to the affidavit. The two others in the car said that Thomas was neither drinking nor smoking, according to the affidavit.
When police searched the car, a Ford Focus, that they believe was involved in the crash, they found a nearly empty bottle of vodka, according to the affidavit. Police said Thomas did not have a driver’s license.
It's hard to follow, but as I read it the idea is that Thomas hit Reaves by accident. But then intentionally drove forward over her, and that's why it's murder. I'm so lacking in confidence on that that I should possibly end that statement with a question mark .
Last week Evan Wilder was involved in a bike-car collision at slow speed. After the collision the driver threw his bike into the back of his truck. Then Wilder was ticketed for following too closely. But video from Wilder's bike-mounted camera shows that this was not the case. That he was passed too closely and that the driver merged in front of him without giving him enough room. Now the police are investigating the ticket, which may be waived and the incident, which may result in charges for the driver for destruction of private property.
On Saturday February 22, Lynn headed out for a 200k bicycle ride, just as she had on so many days over the last several decades. Within 30 miles of the finish, a man driving a light colored Honda CR-V hit Lynn and her friend Maile. Maile was hit with a glancing blow of the vehicle and her injuries were painful but not serious. Lynn was hit directly and was critically injured.
The man in the car drove away leaving Lynn and Maile lying in the road.
Many other wonderful citizens stopped immediately to help and the paramedics from Anne Arundel County and Prince George's County Maryland arrived quickly. Lynn was transported by helicopter to the Shock Trauma unit at UM Baltimore Medical Center where she underwent emergency surgery and was placed on life support. She and the outstanding team of medical professionals have fought hard for her life. The road to recovery will be long.
Eyewitnesses identified the make of the vehicle (Honda CR-V) and the appearance of the driver. He was a white male between the ages of 50 and 60 with a dark or gray mustache. The police found the side view mirror at the scene, narrowing down the year range for the vehicle to 1997-98 or 2000-2001. But no license plates were seen. There have been many tips and leads and the Anne Arundel County Police have been working diligently to find the driver. But they have still not found him.
The goal of this campaign is to raise money for a reward for information leading to the capture and prosecution of the driver. We hope that a substantial reward will help to trigger someone's memory of a friend or neighbor who showed up with a damaged CR-V on the night of February 22nd.
If the reward is not given, the money raised will be used to cover Lynn's substantial medical expenses. -
Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel Dombrowski said Rachel Anna Buckler was driving on Chapel Point Road when she struck Thomas Roepcke with the driver side of her vehicle and continued driving, leaving the man injured on the side of a road. Roepcke was not found until hours after the crash, about 3 a.m. Sept. 2, and succumbed to his injuries in a local hospital Sept. 10.
Text message records indicate that Buckler had been drinking that evening, Dombrowski said.
So, what's the penalty for such a crime?
Buckler was sentenced to a year in prison and has since been released.
But she actually got out a few days early to spend the holidays with her family, and was given both school and work release privileges. That's nice.
Now, Buckler’s attorney Robert Hetherington said, she is remorseful and would like to be a nurse. However, her felony charge prevents her from realizing this particular dream, Hetherington said, as nurses cannot have felony charges on their records. Hetherington requested her sentence be changed to probation before judgment, which would have effectively expunged her record.
“Given her choice of profession, a felony conviction amounts to a life sentence,” Hetherington said. “It will forever keep her from being a nurse. ... She wants to give back, to make up for these tragic events. She has served her punishment.”
No, a life sentence is actually very different. You just can't do a job that requires a history of responsibility. You know who else can't be a nurse? Thomas Roepcke. But wait, there's more.
Dombrowski also noted this is not Buckler’s first time hitting a person with her car: an accident she was in during 2008 when she struck a cyclist resulted in the cyclist developing epilepsy and suffering from complications related to the concussion he got.
I'm just going to let that sit for awhile.
During the investigation of the incident that killed Roepcke, Dombrowski said Buckler told officers she had only ever struck deer.
In fact, Buckler said she thought she’d hit a deer the night she killed Roepcke, Dombrowski said. A text message Buckler received from a friend that evening read “Rachel-1, deer-0. Think of it that way,” according to phone records obtained by the state.
Tracy Roepcke [the victim's brother] took particular issue with Buckler saying she mistook his brother for a deer, given the “hair, blood and bits of his clothing and bicycle” that were found on her vehicle.
The judge denied her request.
“She showed no mercy. I don’t believe my denial ... will be a loss to the nursing profession,” Bragunier said. “She could have saved a life, but she chose to save her own skin. Buckler’s life is not ruined. She still has one.”
And one last bit
Tracy Roepcke also spoke of the ire he held for the state’s attorney’s office for allowing Buckler to plead guilty.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon in a phone interview, Charles County State’s Attorney Anthony “Tony” Covington (D) said he could not say exactly why Buckler had been afforded the Alford plea in the first place without going back and re-examining court records but did say such pleas are not uncommon.