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Former bishop who killed bicyclist while driving drunk and texting to be released from prison in May

Posted at 8:36 PM, Apr 30, 2019

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — A former Baltimore Episcopal bishop who struck and killed a bicyclist while driving drunk and texting over four years ago will be released from prison in mid-May.

It was two days after Christmas in 2014 when Heather Cook crashed her vehicle into Thomas Palermo as he was riding his bicycle on Roland Avenue.

Cook, the first female bishop in the history of the Episcopal Diocese of Baltimore, was found to be drunk and texting at the time of the collision, and initially left the scene, only to return later.

RELATED: Crews remove bike lanes in Roland Park

In 2015 she was sentenced to seven years behind bars after pleading guilty to several charges including vehicular manslaughter, texting while driving, driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of a crash involving injury.

Over the last few years, Cook had applied on multiple occasions for early release. In May of 2017, she was denied parole, and then in 2018 and earlier this year her requests to be moved to home detention were denied.

During her parole hearings, the Group Bike Maryland petitioned the Maryland Parole Commission to block Cook from going free.

If released in May, Cook will have served just over half of her sentence.

According to Gerard Shields, with the Maryland Department of Safety and Correctional Services, upon her release, Cook will be on supervised probation until at least October of 2022.