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Doctor offered plea deal in ballerina's death

Posted May 17, 2010

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— Wake County prosecutors are offering a plea deal to a Raleigh doctor charged in a DWI wreck that killed a ballerina.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden said in court Monday morning that the details would remain confidential until Raymond Dwight Cook and his attorney decide whether to accept the deal.

If he rejects the deal, Cruden said the state is prepared to take the case to trial.

Raleigh police said Cook, of 10516 Beckridge Lane, was traveling 90 mph when he crashed into the back of Elena Bright Shapiro's vehicle at Lead Mine and Strickland roads the evening of Sept. 11.

Shapiro, 20, of Winston-Salem, died as a result of the crash.

Cook had been drinking at a local country club and at a local tavern prior to the crash, witnesses said.

Cook, who is out of jail on a $250,000 bond on charges of second-degree murder and driving while impaired, reportedly underwent rehab out of state.

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

A ballerina with the Carolina Ballet, Shapiro had been in Raleigh rehearsing for "Swan Lake."

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  • shortcake53 May 18, 2010

    I have no pity for him whatsoever. And I have no doubt he feels badly NOW, its THEN that he should have thought about it.
    I'm sick of perps getting sympathy and the victim is forgotten.
    My heartfelt wishes to Elena's family.

  • Myra May 18, 2010

    He is a doctor who can AFFORD to hire a driver or take a taxi; who knows the effects of alcohol; and his actions killed a young person. When you CHOOSE to DRINK AND DRIVE you should be guilty of pre-meditated manslaughter as a minimum. But being a doctor and not a poor person he will get A DEAL. I bet he gets probation and no prison time. It's typical of the current Dept of Justice for people who are "elite." Bruce Eckard charged with 200+ sex exploitation of children was convicted of them and on his sex offender site it says one victim was age 7 .. and he did zero prison time; not one day. The leadership at the Dept of Justice is strangely silent lately on everthing from child sex trafficking to child sex abuse and domestic violence. Too silent!!

  • heaf200 May 18, 2010

    Hey tar person - obviosly no one close to you has ever been killed by a drunk driver...so sad.
    I don't assume anything - he was a doctor - took an OATH to protect, and what did he do - he went out got wasted and took an innocent life for what- the joy of going out and partying. Nothing more than facts there - he went to two locations, had a blood alcohol level of .18 - got in his car and killed an innocent 20 year old girl and took her away from her family and HE is still with his family.

  • wildcat May 18, 2010

    This man do not need any deals. He should get 60 years in prison. Gee, he took an innocent girls life because he was drinking alcohol to the excess. There is not excuse for his actions.

  • tarfags May 18, 2010

    To the man who made the comment why are so "closed minded" because he should have been more responsible with his drinking. If you want to go out and drink, then have the common decency for other people who don't want to be hit, or KILLED by you and get a dd. And sadly he is a doctor, someone who took an OATH to save lives, not take them away. And he is a repeat offender, as his dwi in 1989 tells. That is why so many people are "closed minded".
    edie3470
    May 18, 2010 10:22 a.m.
    Report abuse

    TO: edie 3470

    Who said I was a man? As you so declare! Just a perfect example of your ASSUMING things; just as you are doing with Dr. Cook!!!

  • luv my peeps May 18, 2010

    Maybe he went to rehab because he actually had to acknowledge that he had a problem. And maybe he actually DOES feel remorseful and repentant..how do you know what this man feels?
    Probably half or more of you commentators have driven over the legal limit at least once in your lives if not more..so but for the grace of God it could have been you. I do think he should be punished, and if he is a halfway decent person he probably punishes himself everyday.

  • FairGirl May 18, 2010

    Instead of giving jail time I think he should be required to campaign against drunk driving. That will help save many lives. Put his position in society in good use.

  • heaf200 May 18, 2010

    To the man who made the comment why are so "closed minded" because he should have been more responsible with his drinking. If you want to go out and drink, then have the common decency for other people who don't want to be hit, or KILLED by you and get a dd. And sadly he is a doctor, someone who took an OATH to save lives, not take them away. And he is a repeat offender, as his dwi in 1989 tells.
    That is why so many people are "closed minded".

  • tarfags May 18, 2010

    the man made a mistake. why are most of you so closed minded at to compare him to a REAL murderer? how about a woman named Ann Miller Kontz who willingly murdered her husband over a period of time with arsenic? a painful and horrible death! yet, she only got 25 years for PREMEDITATED murder, and YOU FOLKS want this man to spend 60 years or more in jail??? give me a break!

  • heaf200 May 18, 2010

    I'm sorry, I had a dear, dear friend at the age of 21 killed by a drunk driver - he ran a red light, with his kid standing in up in the backseat - hit Dale L. Stone and killed a beautiful, outgoing, wonderful person. He served maybe 9 months, her parents, both wonderful people never fully recovered. Our Senior Class sometimes does fund raisers in her name.
    He killed a 20 year old with her entire life ahead of her. Blood alcohol level .18 - send him to jail. Never let him practice medicine again.
    Too many senseless DWI deaths and sadly the drunk driver always WALKS away. May God be with the victims family and his family - but may God hand down the punishment he deserves.

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