Family, friends grieve loss of Columbus couple who died in car crash in Auburn

Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:33 PM EDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - Two Columbus families are grieving the loss of their loved ones after a couple died in a car wreck while coming back from a catering event in Auburn early Sunday morning.

Friends and family of the couple say they were kind and had a work ethic like none other. They tell me hearing they were gone was simply shocking.

“Loving, caring, and full of work.”

That’s how many describe 26-year-old Jaylin Hubbard and 26-year-old Kayla Byrd - both lost their lives tragically early Sunday morning on South College Street in Auburn - heading back from a catering event. Ariel DeMunn, a longtime friend of the couple, tells us when she received the news, she couldn’t believe it.

“I was shocked... he’s the last person I ever thought it would have happened to... it crushed me and I just didn’t think that would happen,” DeMunn said.

According to Lee County Deputy Coroner Brad Whetstone, the crash occurred between the time of 2:40 a.m. and 3 a.m. He says the driver, Byrd, 26, and Hubbard, 26, were injured when their car hit a tree in the median as they were coming from a catering event. They say the couple was not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Kayla was a secretary Rothschild Middle School. DeMunn also worked with Byrd where she says she was loved by everyone.

“Kayla and Jaylin had the same work ethic,” said DeMunn. “Miss Byrd, we call her Miss Byrd, but she always did everything we needed for her to do with the school. She was always a team player, if I ever caught her up for anything she will always make it happen... the kids loved her, the staff loved her, and just like Jaylin she made everybody laugh.”

Jaylin Hubbard was the owner of Love at First Bite, catering many events from Columbus to Houston. Our Amaya Graham spoke to of his customers who has known him since he was a child. Keith was the owner of the beloved food truck company.

“His food and the taste and the flavor was most important to him. In high school, he would make little things for his friends and my daughter and all of them at Shaw High and that’s really how he got started.”

Hubbard’s cousin, Teresa Milner, says he was a remarkable businessman.

“Like someone that has been doing business for years, I mean he handled his business with his catering and food truck as if he was a 50-year-old person.”

Jaylin and Kayla had 4-year-old son together and Hubbard had a one-year-old daughter. Milner says her cousin was not only great with the food business, but was a wonderful father.

“Jaylin loved his children - the smile he would put on his face just talking about them.”

Both families are asking for the space to grieve during this difficult time. We will keep you updated as we receive any more information.