Heather Cook is eligible for parole after 18 months in prison for killing Tom Palermo while driving drunk and texting. Please join Bike Maryland in signing this letter to ask David Blumberg, Chair, Maryland Parole Commission to deny Heather Cook parole.
The Honorable David Blumberg
Maryland Parole Commission
6776 Reisterstown Road, Suite 307
Baltimore, MD 21215
Dear Mr. Blumberg:
Bike Maryland strongly urges the Maryland Parole Commission to deny parole to Heather Cook.
Heather Cook committed a violent act, one that took a father away from two young children, denied a wife a loving husband and partner, took a son from loving parents and affected our community of cyclists across Maryland dramatically and potentially irrecoverably.
Driving drunk and texting on a wide road with a speed limit of 30 m.p.h., 2 full lanes for cars and a marked bicycle lane Heather Cook struck and killed Tom Palermo who was out for a ride on an unusually warm and gorgeous December day. She then left the scene of the accident -- twice. She acted with complete disregard for Tom. Not only did she leave the scene, she did not even call 911.
Any of us who cycle could have been Tom. That day, cyclists around Baltimore and across Maryland took advantage of an unseasonably warm and sunny day to get out and ride. Like Tom, we said goodbye to our families as we left, filled with happiness, fully expecting to make it home that day.
Heather Cook should be denied parole. She made deliberate choices leading up to killing Tom. Her actions have negatively impacted our community in that cyclists are more fearful than they ought to be and we will likely continue to have troubles bringing new cyclists into our community as a result of Heather Cook’s actions.
Eighteen months is just not long enough - this was not an accident, and the message sent to our community if she is paroled now will be that there are not severe enough consequences when you kill one of us when flagrantly violating the law and human decency.
Bike Maryland strongly urges the Maryland Parole Commission to deny parole.