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Surgeon Suspended after DWI Charge causing Ballerina’s Death


A plastic surgeon in Raleigh, NC was suspended from his job at WakeMed after driving while intoxicated.  The intoxicated surgeon caused a crash that killed a ballerina, hospital officials said Sunday. The plastic surgeon, Dr. Raymond Dwight Cook was driving a Mercedes 90 mph in a 45 mph zone. This is when he crashed into the back of a Hyundai driven by Elena Bright Shapiro, who was only 20. The wreck occurred around 8:30 Friday night at Lead Mine and Strickland roads.
Paramedics took Shapiro to WakeMed where she later died. Cook was also transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. He 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. Cook is employed by UNC and is contracted to practice with WakeMed, the hospital said.

“The entire WakeMed family would like to pass along their condolences to the family of Elena Shapiro. We are saddened that this tragic event has taken such a young and beautiful life. Dr. Cook has been suspended for the time being to allow for further investigation in the case," said WakeMed spokeswoman Heather Monackey.

Elena Shapiro, of Winston-Salem, was a trainee with the Carolina Ballet and had been dancing since she was 10, according to the group's Web site. "She was a very young dancer. She had her whole life ahead of her. She had all the equipment to be a great dancer," said Robert Weiss, Carolina Ballet's artistic director. "We don't know what she would have done. That's the tragedy that she never had a chance to find out what she could achieve." The dancers still plan to perform Swan Lake this Thursday to open the season.
"In her memory, we're going to give these performances that she was going to be a part of," Weiss said. "It's a true tragedy, and there's no way to make it better, but what we do in our profession is we bring joy to a lot of people ... and we're going to go ahead and try to still do that." Elena Bright Shapiro's funeral services will be held at noon Tuesday at Wake Forest University's Wait Chapel.
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