Local News

Sources: Doctor was drinking hours before dancer's death

Posted September 16, 2009 1:47 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2009 6:58 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.