Raleigh's beloved Christmas cab driver dies

Andrea Blanford Image
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The streets of Raleigh won't shine as brightly this holiday season.

The beloved Christmas cab driver Dwight Robinett, who was known for decorating his taxi with thousands of multi-colored Christmas lights, died earlier this month.

Dave Harris, director of the Raleigh Ringers, told ABC11 Robinett was scheduled to record for the musical group Friday night but never showed.

Harris said he tried all weekend to call Robinett's cell phone and when he drove by his house Sunday, he noticed that no one had been home for some time.

After checking in with Raleigh Police, Harris said police informed him Robinett had died nine days earlier at WakeMed.

Robinett was a Texas native who lived alone and didn't have any local family.

Harris doesn't know what led to his death.

Robinett was a trombonist with the North Carolina Symphony for several decades before retiring.

Harris said he was a talented recording engineer and editor; several musical groups in the area contracted him out for recording.

"This whole cab thing was a bit out of character. He was kind of a loner," said Harris. "But because of his technical skills, he was able to do the cab thing."

One night last Christmas, Robinett parked his glowing Christmas cab in front of ABC11's Raleigh Eyewitness News Center on Fayetteville Street.

He said instead of decorating his house for the holidays, he spent dozens of hours meticulously wiring up his taxi with some 11,000 Christmas lights and making sure the doors would still be able to open.