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History teacher killed in I-4 hit-and-run, driver sought

The driver who was killed is 61-year-old Stephen Hughes of Kissimmee, who was driving a red 2008 four-door Hyundai that hit and wrapped itself around a tree after being forced off the road.
The driver who was killed is 61-year-old Stephen Hughes of Kissimmee, who was driving a red 2008 four-door Hyundai that hit and wrapped itself around a tree after being forced off the road.
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Updated: 8/23/2013 3:04 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando police said they are searching for a driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run after that driver ran another car off the road on Interstate 4 Thursday morning, killing the run-off driver.

The fatal crash caused a huge traffic delay on eastbound I-4 near the Orange Blossom Trail exit at about 6:22 a.m.

The driver who was killed is 61-year-old Stephen Hughes of Kissimmee, who was driving a red 2008 four-door Hyundai that hit and wrapped itself around a tree after being forced off the road.

Orlando police said the driver of a gold car may have been trying to change lanes and struck the side of Hughes' Hyundai. Police said Hughes may have lost control, causing him to run off the highway into the tree.

Hughes was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they are searching for the gold car that left the scene, and there may be damage to that car.

Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the crash to contact the Orlando Police Department.

A former student said Hughes was well-liked.

Sofia Rahman and her family said when word spread about what happened, they thought it was a mistake.

Once they realized it was true, they were really upset.

"I couldn't believe it, it didn't seem real," Rahman said.

Rahman is devastated after she learned of the death Hughes, her former history teacher.

"I saw his car, because I know what his car looks like, to see it crushed and broken was heartbreaking," Rahman said.

Hughes taught at Lake Eola Charter School in downtown for nine years.

He also taught Sofia's older brother and sister.

Following the crash, the school sent out a letter to parents, telling them about what happened and letting them know the school had brought in counselors to help cope with loss.

The school had extended hours Thursday and will be open Saturday morning.

Sofia described Hughes as a great teacher who everyone liked and said even if history wasn't her favorite subject, he made it fun.

"It was one of my favorite classes, and I'm not a fan of history at all. It was nice being in his class and I enjoyed," Sofia said.

Sofia said Hughes was so caring and good to her family that they're going to miss him and she just wishes she would have gotten a chance to say goodbye.

The school sent this letter:

Dear Parents,

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the sudden passing of Steve Hughes a History teacher at our school of nine years who passed away in a fatal car crash this morning. As we work though this as a school family, let me share with you what we have in place.

1)      OCPS has sent a crisis management team to the school to assist staff and students

2)      I have spoken to the students in grades 4-8 with the assistance of trained professionals from OCPS

3)      The school will be opened until 6pm for students who would like to stay at the school with the staff and you may pick them up here

4)      The school will also be opened on Saturday from 9-3 for any students and parents who need to be here

5)      School will be opened tomorrow and we encourage the attendance of all children as routine is important in the healing process

6)      We ask that children are safeguarded from speaking with the media

The parents, students and staff are all reeling from this. But we are LECS strong and we will unite in strength as a family. At this juncture I do not know any further plans on a service, but will keep you informed when I do.

With sadness,

Ronnie DeNoia


Video: WFTV Orlando
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