The story of the alleged drunk driving death that landed Maryland's first female bishop in jail has made headlines across the nation. The accident took place on Dec. 27 and resulted in the death of a 41-year-old father. Reports indicate the bishop fled the scene of the accident and remained away for 30 minutes before returning. The bishop also has a prior DUI conviction from 2010.
After her arrest, she was jailed on a $2.5 million bond for charges of texting while driving, driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident. Reports say the bishop could not pay the bail amount and subsequently requested a reduction in bail. However, the judge reportedly refused the request despite the defense team's argument that the bishop could be held under house arrest or enrolled into a treatment program.
According to news reports, the bishop registered .22 for blood alcohol content shortly after the fatal accident. The report further states the defendant registered .27 for the 2010 drunk driving incident in which she was also allegedly found in possession of marijuana and marijuana-related paraphernalia.
The bishop achieved her position in the church only last year, but the delegates who voted her into position claim they were not made aware of her 2010 charge. The news story says the delegates would likely not have voted for her if they knew about her previous drunk driving charge. A spokesperson with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said they will continue to pray for the bishop and spoke about the Christian faith's "core value" of forgiveness.
The bishop's defense attorney did the right thing by arguing for a reduced bail amount and will no doubt continue to advocate for the defendant. If you or someone you know is facing similar drunk driving issues, acquiring a defense attorney is your best first step in overcoming the charges.
Source: The Christian Post, "Judge Refuses to Lower $2.5 Million Bail for Heather Cook; Bishop Forced to Remain in Jail" Leonardo Blair, Jan. 12, 2015