Local News

Plastic surgeon in court for ballerina's death

Posted September 14, 2009
Updated September 23, 2009

— A local plastic surgeon charged with killing an aspiring ballerina in a drunken-driving wreck over the weekend learned during his first court appearance Monday that he could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges he's facing.

Raymond Dwight Cook, 42, of 10516 Beckridge Lane in Raleigh, faces death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, failure to reduce speed and careless and reckless driving in connection with the Friday wreck at Lead Mine and Strickland roads.

Doctor appears in court in DWI death Doctor appears in court in DWI death

Raleigh police said he was driving a car at a speed of 90 mph in a 45 mph zone when he crashed into the back of a Hyundai driven by Elena Bright Shapiro, 20, of Winston-Salem.

Shapiro, who died at WakeMed, was in the area training with the Carolina Ballet.

Cook was released from jail last week after posting a $50,000 bond.

"He's obviously distraught. It's such a tragedy that happened, and he's just trying to get by day by day," Cook's attorney, Roger Smith Jr., said Monday. "He's just flooded with so many emotions right now."

Cook, a specialist in facial plastic surgery, was licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board in 1999 and is based at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He is contracted to practice at WakeMed but has been suspended.

Jean Fisher Brinkley, director of the board's Division of Public Affairs, would not say whether it is looking into the wreck.

"Generally speaking, when the board becomes aware of a situation where a licensee may have committed misconduct, its policy is to investigate," she said.


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  • Southern Girl Sep 15, 2009

    Thank goodness, he is now charged with 2nd degree murder and bail is $2million. He has surrendered his medical license.

    Good for the justice department. Glad to see this. Hopefully, he will spend his life in jail.

    The new story is on the front of WRAL.com page in another heading.

  • clintoflannagan Sep 15, 2009

    I see mention of the Carolina Country Club and that there are "witness accounts" that he had been at the CCC prior to this. Can someone direct me to those witness accounts?

  • diver Sep 15, 2009

    This was this guys THIRD DWI!!! hes needs a very long prison sentence. should be convicted of neglegent MURDER!!!

  • Go Figure Sep 15, 2009

    get a life, MJW. THIS has NOTHING to do with money, rich doctor or anything else. This poor girl's LIFE is over and for what? Because another HUMAN was selfish and stupid.

  • packaging1 Sep 15, 2009

    MJW...give us a break. The guy is a killer.

  • Southern Girl Sep 15, 2009

    MJW, I think most people on here believe that BECAUSE he is a doctor, BECAUSE he is rich, BECAUSE he is a member of the country club set that he will just get a little tap on the wrist.

    The News & Observer this morning reported on the ages of his 2 children. It is a blessing that they were not in the car with him. Wonder how many times he HAS driven drunk with them in the car? Would be interesting to know that.

    As far as my posting, it is certainly not class envy. It is the fact that I have watched time after time who gets off and who does not, and you must agree that more than not, it is the ones that have the money to hire the big, expensive attorneys.

    If I am wrong, I stand corrected.

  • whateveryousay Sep 15, 2009

    Yeah, I bet he's feeling bad now, he is sober, and realizing the consequences of his actions, his choices. He took a life, hurt a family deeply, forever, and hurt his own family as well, they too are innocent of his stupidity.
    Drinking and driving is premeditated in my book.

  • anti-Hans Sep 15, 2009

    Drinking and driving is awful and ANYONE who drinks and drives should be charged. Having said that, I am amazed at the reactions of many on here. Seems you are happy the rich doc is being charged and now he will lose it all. Give me a break. Class envy at its finest. The man worked hard to get where he is, and just because he has earned money does not give you the right to be judge.

    When the kid from Leesville was drinking last year and overturned his truck, many of you were defending him. Why? No difference whatsoever except one is a doc and one was not. Get over your class envy people.

  • Southern Girl Sep 15, 2009

    Clintoflannagan, I certainly do hope that you are right.

    If they need to throw the book at ANYBODY, it should be him. He should be in jail as we speak. And, he needs to be charged with murder.

    Hopefully, Carolina Country Club patrons will have a lot to say about this. They should.

  • Diabolical Sep 15, 2009

    Wonder if his sentence would be any different if he killed the little school girl child that just got hit and killed not to long ago. More people were involved in that and hung that grandma out to dry and she wasn't drunk. But, she's probably going to serve more time than him or that officer that ran the old guy over. Should be equal justice and not different sentences, because they are above the law or have more money. I'm sure they feel remorse and all but you can't bring back these victims. What's done is done, and those who kill someone in a vehicle should all be punished in the same fashion. Non alcohol incident lesser sentence but alcohol involved, longer sentence.