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Grand jury indicts doctor in DWI, murder

Posted September 28, 2009

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— A Wake County grand jury indicted a local plastic surgeon for his role in a fatal wreck Sept. 11.

Raymond Dwight Cook, 42, of 10516 Beckridge Lane in Raleigh, faces charges of second-degree murder, careless and reckless driving and driving while impaired for the wreck that claimed the life of a Winston-Salem ballerina. Investigators said Cook crashed into the back of a vehicle driven by Elena Bright Shapiro, 20, at Lead Mine and Strickland roads in Raleigh.

Witnesses have said Cook was drinking at the Raleigh Country Club and at Piper's Tavern in north Raleigh before the wreck. A search warrant released Monday said blood drawn from Cook nearly two hours after the collision showed his blood alcohol content at .19.

Public records indicate Cook has a DWI conviction from 1989 in Camden County, Ga., where he pleaded no contest.

Police have also searched Cook's cellphone. According to the warrant, witnesses told police that Cook may have been on the phone just before the crash.

Cook is out of jail on bond. After his arrest, Cook surrendered his passport and medical license and resigned from his job.

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  • jbco Sep 29, 2009

    There is a scientific equation to determine the BAC at the time of the crash. It is called extrapolation and it uses the known amount alcohol is eliminated from the body over time. Since it is unlikely that he drank anything between the accident and the test, his BAC would have been higher at the time of the accident.

    To those who commented on the possibility of this young woman heading to a party: so what? It is not illegal to drink and drive. It is illegal to drive while impaired which = .08 or higher.

    Lastly, 2nd degree murder IS the appropriate charge. You don't have to set out to kill someone to be a murderer. You just have to engage in behavior you know could reasonably lead to someone's death. I would say driving 90 in a 55 after drinking so much you are cut off would qualify. No different from shooting into a crowded room. You might not have a target in mind or even mean to kill anyone at all but you know you could and you are reckless enough to do it anyway.

  • itsmyownopinion Sep 28, 2009

    I'm not blaming the victim. Don't read blame into what I said. The point I tried to make is alcohol is more often than not consumed at parties and more often than not the guests drive home. The ultimate blame falls on Dr. Cook, but it would have been good if someone had thought reporting him was the right thing to do before this awful tragedy.

  • 3779LRRP Sep 28, 2009

    grayboomerang. I don't have much sympathy either for the doc. I just feel it is a sad thing with his career and education...he chose to do some actions he should not have. And the result of those actions ended in a death. Sad.

  • outside_of_apex Sep 28, 2009

    I recall an interview given by Judge Stephens not all that long ago. The reporter asked "It must be incredibly exciting to sit on all these high profile cases?" The judge replied "No, I find it terribly terribly sad".

    This is a terribly sad incident and may well end up in Judge Stephens courtroom.

    The insidious thing about alcohol is that the first thing you lose is your good sense.

  • somey Sep 28, 2009

    itsmyownopinion - Wow! Let just speculate about everthing here. Maybe Aliens just dropped her off after doing experiments on her and he was drowsy from that...Hmmmmmm. If you are sitting in you car and someone with BAC of .19 rear end you, I think I will blame the drumk doing the killing.

    Everyone else on GOLO, its scary that people like tsmyownopinion are walking among us.

  • x138GMOU Sep 28, 2009

    For the questioner: His BAC would have to have been higher at the time of the accident providing he had nothing to drink between the accident and the blood test. Actual BAC at the time of the accident can be pretty accurately extrapolated by an MD. And yes BAC is very important in this prosecution.

  • mom2threecld Sep 28, 2009

    itsmyownopinion, so what if she were going to a party?? not all parties serve alochol, this was dr. cooks fault,not hers

  • get_real_people_09 Sep 28, 2009

    Rev. RB - That is exactly my point. The groom-to-be and the offender who killed him where both (for lack of better words) nobody's to the rest of us...but not to his family, future wife..etc. NOTHING...not one word has been mentioned about that accident (it happened the same day)! The doctor is being treated differently, at least as far as we can all tell.

    What he did was not right...nor was it right for the guy to run a red light...or is it right for the 90 year old who should not be behind the wheel...or the parent trying to control their screaming kid in the back or the people eating and getting distracted and killing someone. I would bet money that the guy who ran the red light will not see a day in jail...even if he has done this before (comparison to the doctors previous dwi/dui). The doctor will be locked up costing us all more money...take his license away for good and make him provide services free of charge moving forward. No license is punishment enough...think about it.

  • grayboomerang Sep 28, 2009

    pedwards8..Uh, I dunno....perhaps I could have a bit more sympathy for the guy, if he hadn't CHOSEN to get in his car and drive drunk at 90 mph in the middle of N. Raleigh. Sorry, can't seem to find much sympathy for this guy.

  • slipawayii2 Sep 28, 2009

    2nd degree murder is not appropriate for this.what about failing to stop at a stop sign or speeding that causes a death? Manslauter is the right charge.The legislature did not intend 2nd degree murder to include motor vehicles offenses.Any unintent death is a tragedy uninted

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