Ballet Dancer Killed in Raleigh Car Accident After Wake County Surgeon Runs Red Light

September 15, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Wake County, Dr. Raymond Cook has been charged with second-degree murder over the red light running Raleigh car crash that claimed the life of a 20-year-old ballet dancer on Friday night. Elena Bright Shapiro was pronounced dead at a local hospital following the North Carolina auto accident.

The deadly Wake County traffic collision occurred on Strickland Road close to Leadmine Road when police say Cook, who was allegedly driving at a speed of 85 mph in a 45 mph zone, struck the vehicle that Shapiro was driving.

Cook had initially been charged with DWI, death by motor vehicle, careless driving, reckless driving, and failure to reduce speed. Today, the plastic surgeon voluntarily gave up his medical license. He also has resigned from his positions at UNC School of Medicine and with WakeMed Facial Plastic Surgery. Cook has agreed to take part in a substance abuse treatment program for doctors.

Per court documents, Cook’s eyes were “bloodshot” and “glassy,” he was swaying, his speech was slurred, and he smelled of alcohol right after Friday’s deadly Raleigh car accident.

This is not Cook’s first drunk driver-related offense. He pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol when he was charged in Georgia in 1989.

Meantime, Elena Bright Shapiro was buried in Winston-Salem today.

Our Raleigh car accident lawyers cannot stress enough how dangerous it is for a driver to run a red light. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 9,200 people died and about 1 million others were injured in auto accidents that occurred at intersections in 2005, while red light running was a factor in about 805 of those traffic deaths.

Red light running catches the other driver unaware and can result in serious auto crashes—especially if the motorist attempting to run the red light is speeding in order to avoid getting a ticket and/or trying get across the intersection as quickly as possible.

Red light running is negligent driving and can be grounds for a Raleigh car accident lawsuit.

Ballet dancer killed in high-speed crash, ABC Local, September 14, 2009

Doctor surrenders medical license, Charlotte Observer, September 15, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Red-Light Running, Federal Highway Administration

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety


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