Local News

After three years, ex-doctor's sentence complete for DWI death

Posted February 28, 2014 11:37 a.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2014 3:18 p.m. EST

— A former Raleigh doctor was released from prison Friday, exactly three years after he was sent there for his role in the death of a young ballerina.

Raymond Cook was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired in the death of Elena Shapiro, who danced for the Carolina Ballet.

Cook, who worked as a facial plastic surgeon, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.24 when he rear-ended Shapiro's car on Sept. 11, 2009. Under North Carolina law, a driver is considered impaired with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.

Shapiro had just left a rehearsal for "Swan Lake," and Cook had been drinking all day, according to prosecutors, who sought a second-degree murder conviction.

Jurors deadlocked, and Cook was convicted on the lesser charge and served a minimum sentence. He was able to work outside the Wake Correctional Center and spend regular weekend visits with family during that time.

Cook surrendered his medical license after the crash, but he is eligible to apply to the North Carolina Medical Board for reinstatement.