ANDOVER (CBS) – Her family and co-workers said Cindy Ray literally lit up a room with her smile. The 30-year-old lighting specialist, who earned an interior design degree from Endicott College, lost her life steps away from the State Police barracks in Andover at about 3 p.m. Sunday.
She and the car in which her mother was waiting were struck by a pickup driven by Robert Bryant, the 50-year-old chief operating officer of a software company whose home happens to be in the same part of Haverhill as Ray’s, Bradford.
She had gone to the barracks to pick an accident report for her husband and was hit walking through the visitors’ parking area.
“I think lighting was probably her calling because it’s what she exuded and it’s what she absolutely, positively did best,” said Lucy Dearborn, co-owner of Lucia’s Lighting and Design in Lynn where Ray worked.
State Police say Bryant left the scene.
WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports
After Cindy Ray’s mother ran into the barracks to report the crash, troopers rushed out, one called for medical help and another arrested Bryant up Route 125. “He did note an overpowering odor or alcoholic beverage in the booking room. He also noted the defendant to be extremely unsteady on his feet, staggering and nearly falling over on a couple of occasions,” prosecutor Alexandra Capachietti said in Lawrence District Court, where a not guilty plea was entered for Bryant who had refused a breathalyzer test.
State Police say he told them at first he’d had one beer then said he’d had a few beers at a friend’s house.
“This is a man with no history of mental illness, no history of alcohol abuse, no history of any type of conduct other than complete law-abiding,” said defense attorney Francis O’Brien, who told the court the only violation his client has on his driving record is running a stop sign in 1984.
The tragedy brought tears to friends at Lucia Lighting and Design where Cindy Ray was a popular co-worker. “She really was a person who loved you fiercely. She was full of love and her clients loved her. She was really organized, had a lot of great style and she took really good care of people…She wasn’t here long enough but she really gave us a lot to be thankful for and a lot to be grateful for and I’m just really glad she was in my life,” said Dearborn.
Another friend who went to Winchester High School with Ray and attended her wedding said she was, “truly a generous, good-hearted person to her family and friends who loved being an interior designer and was head over heels for her husband.”
Cindy Ray’s husband Brian said by phone she was his whole world. “I don’t think anyone can really fathom how beautiful inside and outside a woman this was, constantly giving and loving and living…Unfortunately a tragedy such as a drunk driver has shattered my dreams of spending my life with my soulmate,” he said.
“I think it’s impossible to know what you take away from a man like Brian…from Kathy, her mom, and Melanie, her sister, and her nieces Brooke and Alex,” said Dearborn.
Bryant, a father of four, including three children in college and one in high school, was held on $50,000 cash bail.