Bishop Heather Cook, who hit and killed cyclist Thomas Palermo while she was driving drunk and texting, was sentenced to serve 7 years in prison. Thomas Palermo, a 41-year-old software engineer and father of two young children, as hit from behind by Cook in the Roland Park area of Maryland.
Cook, 59, pleaded guilty last month to automobile manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and other violations.
The Palermo family, who lived in the Anneslie neighborhood of Towson, spent the morning of Dec. 27 hiking at Gunpowder Falls. Thomas Palermo stopped to help a inexperienced kayaker who was having trouble, his wife, Rachel Rock Palermo, recalled in a letter to the court.
Later, he went out for a bike ride. A software engineer at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he had a side business building bike frames.
He was cycling down Roland Avenue in Roland Park when Cook veered into the bike lane, killing him almost instantly.
Her car was badly damaged, but Cook drove on.
The state recommended a 20 year sentence with 10 of those years suspended.
The only similar Maryland sentence I can think of (My database only looks at Montgomery and PG Counties) is Quinzy Fraser, who was sentenced to just 10 years, but only two were suspended. So her sentence was longer, but her time to serve is shorter. On the one hand, she committed the added offense of texting while driving, but on the other, she did return to the crash site on her own. Still, I think her time to serve should have been more similar to, if not longer than Fraser's, but I wasn't in either courtroom, so what do I know.