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Ballerina killed in wreck; doctor charged with DWI

Posted September 11, 2009
Updated September 23, 2009

— A Winston-Salem woman who danced with the Carolina Ballet was killed Friday night by an alleged drunken driver in a wreck at Lead Mine and Strickland roads in Raleigh.

Elena Bright Shapiro, 20, of 28 Cascade Ave., was driving a Hyundai at about 8:30 p.m. when the vehicle was struck from behind by a Mercedes on Strickland Road, authorities said.

Dr. Raymond Dwight Cook, 42, of 10516 Beckridge Lane in Raleigh, was driving the Mercedes 90 mph in a 45 mph zone when the crash happened, authorities said. He is a plastic surgeon with WakeMed, authorities said.

Paramedics took Shapiro to WakeMed where she later died, authorities said. Cook was also transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Cook was charged with death by motor vehicle, DWI, failure to reduce speed and careless and reckless driving, authorities said. He was released from jail after posting a $50,000 secured bond.

Shapiro was a trainee with the Carolina Ballet and had been dancing since she was 10, according to the group's Web site.

"The entire Carolina Ballet organization (is) devastated by the loss of Elena. She was a beautiful young girl and will be greatly missed. Our hearts go out to her family," the group said in a statement.

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