Doctor charged with murder

September 15, 2009 4:50:03 PM PDT
A Wake County plastic surgeon accused of killing a ballerina in a drunk-driving crash over the weekend has now been charged with second-degree murder.Raleigh police had already charged Raymond Cook with DWI. They said he was driving 85 in a 45 mile-per-hour zone on Strickland Road when the accident happened.

Elena Shapiro - a 20-year-old dancer with the Carolina Ballet - died when her Hyundai was hit from behind. She was just beginning a professional career as a ballerina when her life was cut short.

Cook appeared in court Monday on the DWI charge and was released on bond.

He was re-arrested on the new charge of murder on Tuesday. He bonded out at $250,000 again Tuesday evening.

Also Tuesday, the North Carolina Medical Board said Cook voluntarily surrendered his license to practice medicine in the state.

Hours later, Cook's attorney released a statement from Cook.

    Today in Winston-Salem, Elena Bright Shapiro is laid to rest. My wife, parents and family join me in expressing our most profound sympathy to Ms. Shapiro's family. Yet, we understand that words can never take away the pain of her loss.
    A license to practice medicine is a genuine privilege. IT is one that I cherish and have never taken for granted. IT has afforded me the opportunity to help and to heal. Today, I surrendered my license to practice medicine. In addition, I resigned my faculty position at UNC and my employment with WakeMed Facial Plastic Surgery. Later this week, I will enter a program that treats substance abuse.
    Time might heal some things, but it will never take away this hurt and this loss.

Eyewitness News has confirmed that this was not the first time Cook had been charged with going well over the speed limit while intoxicated.

In 1989 in Camden County, Georgia, he was stopped for doing 110 in 65 miles-per-hour zone. He was also charged with DWI.

Court records in North Carolina show that same year he was charged with DWI in this state, but the charges were dropped.

Three years earlier, he was charged with driving too fast for conditions.


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