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Bishop jailed for 7 years over drink driving killing

A court heard how she was involved in a collision with cyclist Thomas Palermo while far above the legal drinking limit and texting on her phone back in December 2014.

She also left the scene of the incident twice.

Speaking during the sentencing, the 58 year old said: "I am so sorry for the grief and the agony I have caused. This is my fault. I accept complete responsibility."

Addressing the judge, she said: "I believe God is working through this, and I accept your judgment."

She'd previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and other violations.

The family of Thomas Palermo have described their disappointment with the sentencing describing it as too lenient.

Some had expected a tougher sentence of up to 20 years.

Speaking after the sentencing, his sister-in-law Alisa Rock said: "While no amount of prison time would ever seem sufficient, we feel the court today could have sent a stronger signal that our community takes driving while under the influence and driving while distracted seriously."

The Diocese of Maryland is yet to comment on the sentencing, although Cook was removed from office following the incident.

Speaking shortly after the crash diocesan bishop Rt Revd Eugene Taylor Sutton said he was "in deep pain" over what happened.

"Words barely express the depth of our shock and despair.

"There are still too many questions for which there are no easy answers, and we are filled with anger, bitterness, pain and tears.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Palermo family in their bereavement and for ourselves as a diocese in mourning."

Bishop Heather Cook became Maryland's first female Episcopalian bishop after being elected a suffragan just months before the crash.

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