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After three years, ex-doctor's sentence complete for DWI death

Posted February 28
Updated March 2

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— A former Raleigh doctor was released from prison Friday, exactly three years after he was sent there for his role in the death of a young ballerina.

Raymond Cook was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired in the death of Elena Shapiro, who danced for the Carolina Ballet.

Cook, who worked as a facial plastic surgeon, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.24 when he rear-ended Shapiro's car on Sept. 11, 2009. Under North Carolina law, a driver is considered impaired with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.

Shapiro had just left a rehearsal for "Swan Lake," and Cook had been drinking all day, according to prosecutors, who sought a second-degree murder conviction.

Jurors deadlocked, and Cook was convicted on the lesser charge and served a minimum sentence. He was able to work outside the Wake Correctional Center and spend regular weekend visits with family during that time.

Cook surrendered his medical license after the crash, but he is eligible to apply to the North Carolina Medical Board for reinstatement.

94 Comments

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  • Obamacare rises again Feb 28, 11:49 a.m.

    Oh great. Who he's going to kill next? Be careful out there folks.

  • Whosays Feb 28, 11:51 a.m.

    I hope he has learned his lesson not to drink and drive. Hope there is not more casualites that he causes. RIP Elena

  • Luv2Camp Feb 28, 11:56 a.m.

    Sad situation for all those involved. Hopefully, all of us that drink alcohol will learn from this horrible accident.

  • 678devilish Feb 28, 11:58 a.m.

    I too, hoped he has learned a lesson. Just wondering if he will apply to the medical board for reinstatement.

  • astrog222 Feb 28, 12:00 p.m.

    So if you want to kill someone, just make sure you're drunk when you do it. You'll get off easy!!

  • AConservativePerson Feb 28, 12:01 p.m.

    Needless to say, he has not learned his lesson. I wonder how long it will be before we hear about him killing somebody else while drinking and driving.

  • mramorak Feb 28, 12:02 p.m.

    So it was a surprise to him that drinking and driving could kill someone??

  • sunshine1040 Feb 28, 12:04 p.m.

    Sorry but I hope NC nor any other state reinstates his license for at least 5 years to see if he can handle being around people that do drink or have access to drugs and does not touch either one. Sorry but he needs to find another way to pay his student loans.

  • scubagirl2 Feb 28, 12:04 p.m.

    His sentence was NOT stiff enough!!! He got a slap on the wrist and Elena got a death sentence.....

    family home visits???? work???

    Did he turn his pay over to the DOC for his room and board?

  • Ven Feb 28, 12:05 p.m.

    so sad how certain rich members of society escape justice.

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