Baltimore Police: 'Evidentiary details' of Palermo bicycling-death case 'will not be released at this time'

The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) investigation into the death on Saturday of Baltimore bicycling enthusiast and bike builder Thomas Palermo is "very active," BPD spokesman J. Eric Kowalczyk said in an email this afternoon, and "in order not to jeopardize any potential prosecution, specific evidentiary details will not be released at this time."

Palermo was killed while riding his bike in the 5700 block of Roland Avenue in Roland Park, and was reportedly run over by a vehicle driven by Heather Cook, a high-ranking Episcopal bishop in Maryland with a criminal record for driving under the influence. Cook initially left the scene of the accident, but returned about 20 minutes later.

While Kowalczyk notes that "these investigations are complex and intricate," and often involve "detailed reconstruction and forensic examination," one piece of evidence has already been published around the world: a photograph obtained by WBAL-TV of the car's windshield and hood, showing the extensive damage caused to the car by the impact of Palermo’s body.

The Baltimore bike-advocacy group Bikemore, in a statement on its website, implores "the justice system to hold the driver who killed Tom accountable for her actions," and notes that it will continue its push to have Baltimore "build physically separated bicycle infrastructure to protect the increasing number of people who ride bicycles for transportation and recreation."

Tonight, Crank Mavens, a local bicycling group, is organizing a "Tom Palermo Memorial Ride," leaving from the Washington Monument at 7:30 p.m.

Chris Bishop, another Baltimore bike builder who says he held Palermo in high esteem and "can't stop thinking about" his death, says "It could have been me, it could have been anybody. It's scary." As for Cook, Bishop adds, "How could you leave somebody on the side of the road after hitting them? Not that that helps or brings Tom back, but I don't understand why this lady is not in jail. I mean, she left."

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