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Sources: Doctor was drinking hours before dancer's death

Posted September 16, 2009
Updated September 23, 2009

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— The Raleigh doctor facing a murder charge in a weekend DWI had been drinking the afternoon prior to the wreck that killed a Winston-Salem ballet dancer, sources told WRAL News Wednesday.

Raymond Dwight Cook played golf and drank at the Raleigh Country Club prior to going to Piper's Tavern in north Raleigh before he got behind the wheel.

Show goes on for dancer's ballet troupe Show goes on for dancer's ballet troupe

Raleigh police said Cook, 42, of 10516 Beckridge Lane, was traveling 90 mph in a 45-mph zone when he crashed into the back of a vehicle driven by Elena Bright Shapiro of Winston-Salem.

Authorities would not comment Wednesday about Cook's actions or his whereabouts the afternoon of the crash, and Christian Anastasiadis, the country club's chief operating officer, also had no comment.

Jimmy Powers, who co-owns Piper's Tavern on Falls of Neuse Road, told WRAL News on Tuesday that Cook had only two drinks before he was cut off and that he left the bar around 8:15 p.m. The crash happened about 15 minutes later less than 3 miles away at Lead Mine and Strickland roads.

Cook faces second-degree murder in the case, as well as a DWI and reckless driving charge. He is out of jail on a $250,000 bond.

Shapiro, 20, a dancer who had trained with the Carolina Ballet since last year, died at WakeMed. She had been expected to perform three parts in the dance company's upcoming rendition of "Swan Lake," which opens Thursday evening at Fletcher Opera Theater in downtown Raleigh.

Colleagues Wednesday described her as a bright, funny and extremely talented ballerina who was dedicated and passionate about her art.

"She could have done so many great things, and now she's not going to get the chance to do them," said Ashley Hathaway, a fellow dancer in the show.


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  • maist90266 Sep 24, 2009

    I hear they know who the female companion was and no it wasnt his wife. Rumor mill has it that its a nurse co-worker with whom he was having an affair who had went on leave when things first happened and now has resigned because she knows things are about to go from bad to worse.

  • itsmyownopinion Sep 17, 2009

    Whatever. I always thought a deadbeat was one who didn't keep financial obligations, pay their bills, too sorry to hold a job, etc.

  • gaiter Sep 17, 2009

    I knew Elena from NCSA, knew her brother better than her, but she stood out from the crowd because she always had a smile on her face.... I hope Cook gets the full sentence, he certainly deserves it!

  • zanerx Sep 17, 2009

    "125 FPS = 85MPH, hence being 600 feet from the crest of the hill to the accident site, there is 4.8 seconds for reaction time. Unless you have someone pull out in from of you. berenj"

    Yeah, berenj, and if he were going 45 MPH, he would have had 9.6 seconds. Even a drunk might be able to manage that.

    It also wouldn't surprise me to find out that he didn't even have his headlights on.

    Anyway, berenj, I will be sure to remember your point next time I'm drunk out of my skull and driving 90 MPH down a city street - if someone pulls out in front of me, it doesn't matter how fast I am going or how much I have compromised my driving abilities by being blitzed - it's still not my fault!

  • mom2threecld Sep 17, 2009

    nicolbon, certainly you can't think the young lady is at any fault. she is a victim, and he is totally at fault.

  • Professor Sep 17, 2009

    He will not be able to hold his wife's hand after he enters prison life. There he may find someone. lol lol It happens. Wife will be moving on since she knows there was another woman.

  • Professor Sep 17, 2009

    GOFIGURE, did you mean to say "deadbeat" and if so, please name your source. @@

    I will explain: He killed someone and don't show any remorse. Just want the public and his family to feel sorry for him. PLEASE! HE IS A DEADBEAT! He is now on his way to prison. He is a MURDERER!

  • Professor Sep 17, 2009

    I bet he would like a stiff drink right about now. Of course he is sober, but nothing wrong with wanting to taste. Life in prison is what he should get. He took a life because of his drinking and being drunk. Had he not been in that position, the lady would be here today.

  • Go Figure Sep 17, 2009

    and don't read anything into why i used that term. It was merely to point out that this guy is a deadbeat.

  • Go Figure Sep 17, 2009

    I did say deadbeat.