Former Bishop Sentenced to 7 Years After DUI Conviction
Heather Cook, the former high-ranking Episcopal bishop who has been in the headlines throughout much of the last year in Maryland for the charges of driving under the influence she was facing, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Cook pleaded guilty in September to charges of drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident and manslaughter by automobile. The accident, which occurred December 27, 2014, resulted in the death of a 41-year-old man who was riding his bicycle in the bike lane in a north Baltimore neighborhood.
According to police, Cook continued to drive home after the crash. She was eventually tested for intoxication at a police station, when her blood alcohol content level was still at an extremely high 0.22 — nearly three times the legal limit in Maryland. Investigators also discovered she had been texting while driving at the time of the crash.
Cook was suspended from her position as bishop after the accident and eventually resigned in the spring. Had she not pleaded guilty to these charges, her sentence would likely have been even more severe. As it is, she will spend up to seven years behind bars.
Drunk and distracted driving kills
This case is an unfortunate reminder of the dangers of both operating a vehicle while under the influence and texting while driving. Police remind all drivers to make responsible decisions after consuming alcohol and to keep the phone away when behind the wheel. It’s simply not worth risking the lives of you and others on the road.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of a drunk driver, speak with a trusted La Plata, Maryland auto accident lawyer at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.