‘Her smile was infectious’; Family members remember woman killed in Kodak Center crash

Family of Kodak crash victim speaks to News10NBC

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The family of Justina Hughes, one of the two concert-goers killed in a crash outside Kodak Center on New Year’s Day, says she had an infectious smile that lit up a room. 

Friday, Justina’s mother, sisters, and aunts met with Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean near their home next to Seneca Lake in Geneva. 

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “How are you going to remember her?”

Carrie Roach, Justina Hughes’ mother: “When she came into a room her smile was infectious. She just lit up a room when she would walk in.”

In a meeting space at Hobart and William Smith colleges, Carrie Roach was flanked by her daughter’s aunts and sisters. She held a photo of her daughter Justina in her home-made angel wings that she would wear at concerts. Music was her passion. 

Brean: “I talked to one of her friends yesterday and he called her a beam of sunshine.” 

Roach: “That she was. That she was.”

Hughes was born in Florida, moved to Newark, and then to Fairport and graduated from Webster Schroeder 10 years ago. 

Early Monday morning, she was killed leaving a concert at Kodak Center when an SUV loaded with gas cans was speeding, crossed the middle lane, and crashed into the Uber she was in with her friend, Josh Orr. 

Brean: “I suppose you thought about what happened. Do you think about it all the time?”

Roach: “I don’t think about it all the time. I remember Jessie calling me in tears, and I got into a panic thinking that something happened.”

Roach was told there was an accident. 

Roach: “I pulled over into a parking lot and Jenn, I heard her crying. And she told me she didn’t make it and she was with Josh. And I let out a scream and just kept saying ‘No.'”

Brean: “One of the things police told us is by virtue of that SUV hitting the car, that Justina and Josh were in, it probably saved dozens of lives. And I’m wondering how you take that?”

Roach: “That’s Justina and Josh. They were coming from their happy place and they were always happy afterwards. So even though they were hit and they were killed, the both of them, they were still in their happy place and I call them heroes. I call them heroes because they gave their life to save a hundred or more or less people — which is something they would have done anyway.

There is a GoFundMe for Justina and her family. There will be a candlelight vigil at 5 p.m., Sunday, January 14 at Kodak Center, and everyone is welcome. 

RPD has not provided an update on what happened since Tuesday.