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US bishop admits part in fatal hit-and-run collision

02 January 2015

AP

Floral tributes: the place where the cyclist Tom Palermo was hit by a car

Floral tributes: the place where the cyclist Tom Palermo was hit by a car

A CYCLIST has died after a traffic accident involving a car driven by the Suffragan Bishop of Maryland, the Rt Revd Heather Cook, on Saturday.

After press reports of a "hit-and-run" incident, the diocese of Maryland issued a statement on Monday, clarifying that "Bishop Cook did leave the scene initially, but returned after about 20 minutes to take responsibility for her actions."

The Bishop of Maryland, the Rt Revd Eugene Taylor Sutton, said in the statement that, "because the nature of the accident could result in criminal charges, I have placed Bishop Cook on administrative leave, effective immediately."

The cyclist, Thomas Palermo, aged 42, a father of two, died from his in-juries in hospital, after a collision with an SUV driven by Bishop Cook. She did not sustain any injuries.

Bishop Sutton expressed his "deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist" and offered his condolences to the victim's family.

Bishop Cook was elected in May last year, becoming the first woman bishop in the diocese. The Baltimore Sun reported on Monday that court records showed that she had pleaded guilty in 2010 to driving under the influence of alcohol: she was driving with more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in her blood. She pleaded guilty, received probation before judgment, and was ordered to pay a $300 fine.

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