ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A pair that went to to see moe., a Grateful Dead tribute band, as they rang in the new year never even had the chance to embrace 2024.
The Rochester Police Department identified the two victims as 28-year-old Justina Hughes of Geneva, New York, and 29-year-old Joshua Orr of Webster, New York.
The two of them were leaving a parking lot outside of the Kodak Center in a rideshare when Michael Avery hit them with his car, taking their lives.
Investigators say Avery appeared to be speeding toward a crowd of people in a crosswalk before he hit the car. Hughes’ and Orr’s families now consider them heroes for being a “shield for others.”
They believe that if Avery didn’t hit their car, he could have driven into more people outside the theater.
Both families spoke about the two, giving those who only now know them as victims insight into their lives before the tragedy.
Justina was our family’s beautiful free spirit and she was loved by all of us beyond measure. She had an old soul and cared deeply for her family and friends. She was a talented artist who loved nature, and took every opportunity to hike a new trail and find a new waterfall. And oh how she loved music. It was the passion that gave her the most joy. We take peace in knowing that Justina and her very best friend, Josh, spent their last moments together, enjoying their passion and friendship. We also take comfort in knowing that many other lives were saved because they became, albeit unaware, a shield for others. And because of that, they will forever be heroes. We ask that you take a moment to reflect on the young lives that were taken away from their families and friends. Please respect our wishes to grieve and mourn this devastating loss in privacy.
Family of Justina Hughes
Josh was a beautiful, generous human, filled with love and positivity and an advocate for those struggling with mental health. Aside from his family, he loved his girlfriend and his dog Eddie. On New Year’s Eve Josh was doing his favorite thing in the world, attending a Grateful Dead tribute band when he was taken from us. Josh is a hero and saved countless lives from being taken away from our community.
We are thankful for all of the first responders of Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement for doing everything they could to help our son and his dear friend. Please respect our privacy as we navigate through this unimaginably difficult time.
Family of Josh Orr
The Rochester Police Department alongside the City of Rochester also expressed their sympathy to the family, friends, and those connected to the victims.
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