Maryland diocese asks bishop accused of killing cyclist to resign

(Reuters) - The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has asked a bishop who is accused of killing a cyclist while driving drunk to resign her position, saying she was no longer able to function effectively. Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook, the diocese's first female bishop and second highest official, is charged with manslaughter in the Dec. 27 hit-and-run death of cyclist Tom Palermo in Baltimore. In a letter to Cook dated Monday, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said it had unanimously agreed to ask for her resignation. Her attorney, David Irwin, said he received the letter on Wednesday and discussed it with his client but did not yet have a public comment. Cook, 58, who is free on bail, is attending an in-patient alcohol treatment facility, her lawyer has said. She is also charged with drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and causing an accident due to texting while driving. Cook left the crash scene and returned about 30 minutes later, according to court documents. A breath test showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.22, almost three times Maryland's 0.8 limit. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6. (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Peter Cooney)