Jan 02, 2015 by Richard A. Kauffman
Two days after Christmas, Heather Elizabeth Cook, suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, hit and killed a bicyclist with her car. The deceased, Thomas Palermo, left behind a wife and two small children, ages four and six. Cook left the scene of the accident, despite having a badly cracked windshield from the impact. According to one report, she only returned to the scene because another cyclist chased her down.
The police have released no details suggesting drugs or alcohol were involved. But Cook had a previous DUI incident in 2010, before she became a bishop. In that incident she was initially charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, and possession of marijuana. She admitted to smoking pot while driving. One of her tires was shredded down to the rim.
Apparently this information wasn’t shared across the diocese when Cook was voted in this spring as the number two bishop, leaving some members feeling betrayed. Some even accuse the search committee of being so keen to elect the first female bishop in the diocese that it chose to overlook her previous run-in with the law.
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