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Switch to Forum Live View Maryland Bishop Admits to Fatal Hit and Run
3 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2014 - 9:07PM #1
Girlchristian
Posts: 13,685
www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-3062645...


Maryland's first female Episcopal bishop was the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist in Baltimore, the diocese says.


Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook's vehicle collided with Tom Palermo, 41 on Saturday and initially left the scene.


Diocesan Bishop Eugene Sutton told clergy members in an email that Bishop Cook returned 20 minutes later "to take responsibility for her actions".


Ms Cook, who was elected bishop in September, has been put on leave.


 
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 30, 2014 - 10:07PM #2
Merope
Posts: 14,591

I'm quite disappointed to hear this news.  I'm an Episcopalian, myself.


Also, Gene Sutton interviewed in my diocese some years ago as a candidate for bishop.  He ultimately wasn't called here, but I and others in my diocese were very pleased to learn that he was subsequently called to Baltimore.  He was well-liked here, and I have a lot of respect for him.  I think he's done the right thing in the Cook situation.


Cook reportedly has some driving under the influence issues prior to this incident.  So I think she needs some help.  She's never been charged, though.


I hope the DA's office doesn't adopt a hands-off policy with her, in terms of potential charges for this incident, just because she's a bishop and Maryland's first female.  I expect my bishops and clergy to manage their ethanol and other issues - or get help doing so - particularly in terms of not putting others at risk because of their own issues. 


I also wonder whether any of her prior driving history came up during her screening as a candidate for bishop suffragan.  It should have.  Candidates are usually vetted very closely and carefully.


And for the record, I'm totally supportive of women in the episcopacy.

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2015 - 8:21PM #3
Merope
Posts: 14,591

Members of the diocese, presumbably both clergy and lay, took part in a New Year's Day memorial bike ride in honor of Tom Palermo, the man who was killed.


His death is very sad and rather ironic because he was a bicycle maker, himself.  And he was well known and well-loved in the community.

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2015 - 11:40AM #4
Merope
Posts: 14,591

It should be noted that Bishop Cook disclosed her previous DUI to the appropriate parties 2 years ago, when she was being vetted for her current position and before she was consecrated a bishop.


www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2891576...

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2015 - 1:47AM #5
Merope
Posts: 14,591

The diocese has posted a statement on its website regarding what transpired between the time Bishop Cook hit the cyclist, left the scene, and then returned to the scene.  The statement can be read at episcopalmaryland.org/statement-followin...


According to the statement, the Rev. Scott Slater (chief assistant to Diocesan Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton) gave a report of events of the December 27 accident.  Slater said Cooke called him around 2:59 PM on the day of the crash, about 20 minutes after the crash, and told him that she thought she'd hit a bicyclist and was in shock.  The crash occurred at about 2:45 PM.


Slater said he arrived at the scene of the crash around 3:10 PM and told police officers that Cook had called him.  Slater said he gave the police a statement about Cook's phone call, that he contacted Sutton, and then that he contacted the diocesan attorney.  He said he did not speak with Cook at the scene.  She was sitting in a patrol car.


Slater said he received a call from police around 5:27 PM to pick up Cook.  Once at her apartment, he spoke with her briefly.


Slater said police asked him on the following Monday to give a recorded statement, which he did.  Details of the statement were not disclosed at the meeting.


It's known that she left the scene because another bicyclist who'd witnessed the crash - and tried to render aid to Palermo - followed Cook's car to her home. 


www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md...


www.wbaltv.com/news/episcopal-diocese-ho...


www.christianpost.com/news/bishop-heathe...

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2015 - 9:43PM #6
Merope
Posts: 14,591

Bishop Cook hasn't yet been charged in the accident, and she remains on administrative leave.  The diocese has been told by the police that it could be as much as 2 months before an accident report will be available.


However, The Episcopal Church has begun discplinary proceedings in her case.


“Currently we are following the disciplinary processes of the Church, and we are providing pastoral care,” Episcopal Church public affairs officer Neva Rae Fox said Tuesday, speaking for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.  “We hold Bishop Cook, the Diocese of Maryland and the Palermo family in our prayers.”


Fox added that “as per the canons, details of the process remain confidential.”


Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church governs ecclesiastical discipline of clergy members. Canon 17 of Title IV outlines the disciplinary process of bishops.


episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/01/...

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2015 - 10:15PM #7
Erey
Posts: 21,730

Wow,  what a terrible story.   I have never hit anyone so I don't know about that tendancy to flee the scene.  But I do understand the tendancy to flee when things get very bad. 



I have always had sympathy for people who in accidents kill others.   A classmate we all loved was killed between the summer of 8th and 9th grade by a older girl who was new to driving.   She accidentaly ran him over.   I always felt terrible for the girl. 


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3 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2015 - 3:49AM #8
Merope
Posts: 14,591

Bishop Cook surrendered herself to Baltimore law enforcement after being charged Friday with 8 offenses for allegedly causing a fatal car accident in which she temporarily left the scene after hitting and killing a bicyclist.  She was then processed at Central Booking.  A court commissioner was expected to determine her bail in the evening.


Earlier in the day, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said at a news conference that 4 criminal charges had been filed in district court against Cook.  They include negligent manslaughter by vehicle (maximum penalty 10 years and/or $5,000 fine), criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle (three years and/or $5,000 fine), negligently driving under the influence resulting in a homicide (five years and/or $5,000 fine) and negligent homicide involving an auto or boat while impaired (three years and/or $5,000 fine).


Bishop Cook also faces traffic charges of failing to remain at an accident resulting in death, failing to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury, using a text messaging device while driving causing an accident with death or serious injury, and driving under the influence of alcohol.


Bishop Cook blew a .22 on a breathalyzer test given her after the accident, well over Maryland’s legal limit of .08.


State’s Attorney Mosby reminded those at the news conference that Bishop Cook is presumed innocent until and unless she is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/01/...


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3 years ago  ::  Jan 10, 2015 - 3:58AM #9
Merope
Posts: 14,591

This is tragic all the way around.  One man is dead; there is a grieving widow and fatherless children.  Bishop Cook will probably be removed as a bishop; her alcohol issues have apparently gone so far out of control as to allegedly have caused the the man's death, and her life is probably in pieces.  The community at large is hurting, and the community of Bishop Cook's diocese and church are hurting.


The HuffPo's Religion Blog of January 2 is on the subject of the Bishop Cook, sobriety, the accident, and the question of who should be clergy.  www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-emily-c-heath...


The blogger is an ordained United Church of Christ (UCC) minister, so she is clergy.


It's a very thoughtful piece that addresses a number of the issues at play here in a reflective, non-condemning - but non-condoning - way.


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3 years ago  ::  Jan 11, 2015 - 3:23PM #10
Merope
Posts: 14,591

Bail was set at $2.5 million for Bishop Cook after a hearing on Friday at the Baltimore City District Court.  www.baltimorebrew.com/2015/01/09/bishop-...


She's been charged with all 8 offenses listed in a previous post.


She'll be held at the downtown (Baltimore) Detention Center until bail can be posted.  Reportedly, it would typically cost about $250,000, or 10%, to post bail.  Reportedly, the percentage sometimes is much lower.  It's not clear whether she's made bail by now; I think she was still in jail yesterday.


Sources told The Brew that Bishop Cook appeared at the hearing after being transported from Father Martin’s Ashley, an alcoholism and drug addiction treatment center near Havre de Grace, where she had been staying.  IMO this is good that she's in rehab.


A trial date has been set for February 6.  However, that date could change if Cook is indicted by a city grand jury, as State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said could happen.


Cook surrendered her driver's license to the Baltimore Police Department on December 27, the day she took a breathalyzer test and blew almost 3 times the legal limit.

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