A 22-year-old TV reporter known as a “bright, shining light” in her newsroom was killed in a motorcycle crash, Arkansas cops say.
The City of Little Rock said Haven Hughes was a passenger in a motorcycle that collided with a vehicle on Monday, Jan. 16. Hughes was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the motorcycle, 34-year-old Mark Hudson, suffered life-threatening injuries, officials say.
No charges have been filed against the 46-year-old driver of the vehicle, who “provided a urine sample for toxicology testing,” according to city officials.
Hughes graduated from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in 2022 and began her job at KARK 4 News and Fox 16 News in August.
When she accepted the job, she said in a Facebook post she was “looking SO forward to serving my home city of Little Rock.”
The Little Rock TV station said “it was all coming together for her.”
“Her smile was bright and always backed up with an energetic and positive approach to life,” KARK said. “She understood the responsibility of telling other people’s stories and was thrilled with being able to do it here in her home state, in her hometown and among family and friends.”’
Hours before her death, she was covering Martin Luther King Jr. events for the station.
Colleagues remembered Hughes as a “beautiful soul” and a “sweet, kind and dedicated reporter.”
“She took constructive criticism with a smile, handled the tough days like a champ, and brought light and laughter into our newsroom,” KARK reporter Caitrin Assaf said. “She was growing and improving every day and I am so incredibly proud of how far she’s come and her positive attitude no matter what.”
“It broke all of our hearts at #Team20 to learn of her passing,” added Gary Burton Jr. “She always brought positive energy.”
Julian Jones, who often worked alongside Hughes in her short time at the station, said he was “thankful and blessed” to be a part of her journey.
“When you first started working at the station and I was assigned to help train you, we clicked like no other!” Jones said. “It was as if this partnership was meant to be.”
Chris Counts, a digital content producer at KARK, called Hughes “pure potential.”
“She was made of kinetic positivity and kindness, always upbeat and on a path of wanting to be better than the self she was the day before,” Counts said. “She was living her dream right in front of us and building even more dreams as she went.”