Bishop Heather Cook bailed for $2.5m following fatal hit-and-run

Bishop Heather Cook has been charged with vehicular manslaughter following the death of a cyclist.Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook, who is facing criminal charges for the hit and run of a 41-year-old cyclist, has checked herself into an alcohol treatment facility after posting $2.5 million bail.

According to a report by CBS News, Cook, who holds the position of Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, was intoxicated on December 27 when she crashed into Tom Palermo while he was out cycling that day.

Eyewitness reports placed Cook in her car roughly 100 yards from the man's body, before she drove off and only returned 20 minutes later to talk to police officers.

After undertaking alcohol tests, Cook was confirmed to be three times above the limit of alcohol for drivers in Maryland. Palermo, a husband and father to two children, died in the hospital shortly after due to head injuries.

As a result, Cook was charged with driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. She was arrested and detained at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

According to WBAL investigative reporter Jayne Miller, an unprecedented amount of $2.5 million was slapped against Cook because she was considered by the presiding judge as both a "danger and a flight risk."

Despite her lawyer's claim of his client's inability to produce the amount, Miller tweeted that the bishop was allowed to leave the facility after posting a check deposit and a promise to pay the remainder in increments.

"Bishop Cook posted $35,000 cash and signed note to pay $1,000/month for 215 months to bail bondsman to make her $2.5 million bail," reported Miller on the social media site twitter.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Cook's lawyer Jose A. Molina confirmed his client had left the detention centre.

"She has been released. She's going directly to an inpatient alcohol treatment facility and she will not be driving pending trial," he said.

Cook's preliminary hearing is scheduled for early February.  

Aside from her legal issues, Cook is also being subjected to disciplinary proceedings by the national Episcopal Church, according to church Spokeswoman Neva Rae Fox.

Fox explained that Cook will also be on administrative leave while being investigated, but details of the Church proceedings will remain confidential.

The fatal accident involving Palermo is not the first time the bishop was caught drink driving.  She was caught driving under the influence in 2010, when police also found in her possession two small bags of marijuana, and bottles of wine and liquor.