The story of the female Episcopal bishop who was facing criminal charges after a drunk driving accident that killed a man is one that has continued to keep people here in Maryland enthralled. The woman has entered into a plea agreement that could land her behind bars. The prosecutors are asking that she be sentenced to 20 years with all but 10 years suspended.
The woman pleaded guilty to one count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, one count of automobile manslaughter, one count of texting while driving and one count of driving while under the influence in connection with the fatal crash.
The defendant was texting while driving drunk when she slammed into a bicyclist. The bicyclist was killed and the woman left the scene. A friend urged her to return to the scene of the accident 30 minutes later. She had a blood-alcohol concentration of .22 percent, which is almost three times the legal limit.
This isn’t the woman’s first drunk driving case. In fact, a previous drunk driving arrest that occurred in 2010 resulted in her spending a year on probation. In that case, the woman had a BAC of more than three times the legal limit when she was stopped by a law enforcement officer for driving with a shredded tire on the shoulder of the road. She was unable to complete the field sobriety test in that traffic stop because she was so intoxicated that the officer thought she would hurt herself.
This woman opted to enter into a plea agreement to resolve her case. While that is an option in some drunk driving cases, all defendants have the right to go to trial. In consultation with your attorney, you can determine the best way to proceed.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Former bishop Heather Cook pleads guilty in death of cyclist,” Justin Fenton, Sep. 08, 2015