Heather Cook will serve seven years in jail for last December’s hit-and-run crash that killed cyclist Tom Palermo.
The former Episcopal bishop could have faced 10 years in prison, but the judge decided on a lesser sentence. She was also sentenced to five years probation.
Cook initially pleaded not guilty, which would have set up a trial. But she later changed her plea to guilty.
According to CBS Baltimore’s Mike Hellgren, Cook apologized to Palermo’s family in court, saying she accepted “complete responsibility.”
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who charged Cook in January, issued the following statement:
“My heart goes out to the Palermo family,” she said. “I appreciate the cyclist community of Baltimore for supporting the Palermos in their time of need. This senseless tragedy is a clear example of why law enforcement takes drunk driving and texting while driving so seriously.”
Palermo, 41, died after being hit by Cook’s car in the bike lane of Roland Ave. on Dec. 27, 2014. Cook initially left the scene of the accident. She later returned and submitted to an alcohol test, which showed her BAC at three times the legal limit. Cook was also found to have been texting while driving.
In addition to the criminal charges, Cook was defrocked and removed as the Maryland Episcopal Diocese’s number two bishop.
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