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I first wrote on September 15th about two fatal accidents that occurred recently: Christopher Raynor was killed when another driver ran a red light. Ballet dancer Elena Shapiro died when her car was hit by a speeding drunk driver. These were two particularly heart-breaking cases – Mr. Raynor was to be married that day – and Ms. Shapiro was an ascendant professional ballerina, having experience with the ballets of Boston, Houston, and Hungary among others.

Not only has the world lost forever two young people, but the lives of the drivers – both of whom survived — have been severely impacted as well.

Consider: When last I wrote, Dr. Raymond Cook, who hit Shapiro, had been charged with DWI and released on $51,000 bond. Since then, he has been charged with 2nd degree murder and his bond has been raised to $250,000. Previously, Dr. Cook was a cosmetic surgeon at Wake Med and an assistant professor at UNC Medical School. He resigned both positions and surrendered his license to practice medicine.

Dr. James Early, the driver involved in Mr. Raynor’s accident faces a charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle.

The most remarkable aspect of these tragedies is that both were preventable. The consequences, in both cases, are forever. The sad irony is that the two drivers were both physicians committed to caring for the health of their patients and undoubtedly scrupulously meticulous and careful in their professional duties. A driver is responsible for the safe operation of his or her vehicle. A moment’s inattention can turn that vehicle into a deadly missile.

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