Speed Reads


High-ranking Episcopal bishop involved in fatal hit-and-run

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has identified Bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook as the driver in a fatal hit-and-run accident on Saturday in Baltimore. Cook was ordained as suffragan bishop in September, making her the second-highest-ranking Episcopal official in Maryland and the state's first female bishop.

"I am distressed to announce that Bishop Heather E. Cook was involved in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon, Dec. 27, that resulted in the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41," said Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton in an email to fellow Maryland clergy. "Several news organizations have reported this as a 'hit and run.' Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions."

Cook is on administrative leave; she hasn't been charged with any crime yet. In 2010, Cook pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol, The Baltimore Sun reports, and charges of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia were dropped. There's no indication that Cook was intoxicated in Saturday's crash.