Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City

For Immediate Release 1/9/2015

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State’s Attorney, announced the charging of Heather Elizabeth Cook in the Palermo cycling case today. Based on the investigation done by the Baltimore City Police Department, Cook will be charged with several offenses related to the December 27th, 2014, incident.

Charges were filed in the District Court Friday by Det. Edgardo Mercado. Mosby indicated that Cook is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The case has been assigned to Assistant State’s Attorney Kurt Bjorklund.

The initial charges include the following: Criminal Charges:

  1. Negligent Manslaughter by vehicle (Max 10 years and/or $5,000 fine)
  2. Criminal Negligent Manslaughter by vehicle (Max 3 years and/or $5,000 fine)
  3. Negligently Driving Under the Influence resulting in a Homicide (Max 5 years and/or $5,000 fine)
  4. Negligent Homicide involving an Auto or Boat while Impaired (Max 3 years and/or $5,000 fine)

Traffic Charges:

  1. Duty of Driver to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in Bodily Injury
  2. Duty of Driver to remain at an Accident resulting in Death
  3. Use of a Text Messaging Device while Driving causing an Accident with Death or Serious Bodily Injury
  4. Driving under the Influence of Alcohol

Based on the Statement of Probable Cause it is alleged that:

  1. Both Palermo and Cook were traveling in the same direction— Southbound on Roland Ave;
  2. Palermo was in the bike lane and Cook was driving in the traffic lane;
  3. Cook, who was texting while driving at the time of the collision, veered off to the right and into the bike lane—striking Palermo from the rear; which caused Palermo to strike the hood and windshield of Cook’s 2001 Subaru, and was thrown to the right hand side before coming to a final rest against the west side curb in the 5700 block of Roland Ave;
  4. It is alleged that Cook failed to remain at the scene of the accident, and continued south on Roland Ave; roughly 30 minutes later she returned to the scene, driving northbound on Roland Ave, but continued past the scene northbound to her current residence;
  5. Cook left her apartment, shortly after her arrival and returned to the scene of the incident; Cook was transported from the scene by the BPD to Central District where she was given a breathalyzer test which resulted in a .22 reading.

"As previously stated, the State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to applying justice fairly and equally- no one is above the law. As concerned members of the public I ask for your patience and understanding, as we allow justice to run its course," said State Attorney Mosby. ### For more information or media inquiries please contact mail@stattorney.org or call 443-984-6001