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.