High school football player killed in I-95 crash was ‘gentle giant’
HOLLYWOOD, Florida. – A family mourns the death of a South Florida high school football player who is remembered as a “gentle giant.”
Lashaun Stephen, 15, was determined to play in the NFL, his aunt says. But her promising young life was cut short after a fatal crash on I-95 on Saturday night.
“Oh he was amazing,” Dayana Echeverry said of her nephew Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Local 10. “He was training in the rain. If there was a hurricane coming, he would still be training. It was all football. football was his life.
A student at McArthur High School in Hollywood, Stephen towered over other teens, measuring 6 feet 3 inches and 250 pounds, Echeverry said. He was nicknamed “Big Baby”.
On Saturday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, Stephen was riding in the bed of a pickup truck with a group of other 15-year-olds, heading north near the Hollywood Boulevard exit.
While trying to change lanes, the soldiers say the pickup slid another car aside, causing the driver of the pickup to lose control and spin.
Stephen was expelled and later died in hospital.
“He fought so hard,” Echeverry said. “They tried to revive him but his heart couldn’t take it.
The soldiers say none of the other passengers on the truck were injured in the crash. FHP claims the driver had a valid learner’s license but no adults were driving the vehicle.
It is also illegal in Florida for any minor to climb into the bed of a pickup truck traveling on the freeway. At this point, no one has been cited or charged, but an investigation is ongoing.
The loss of Stephen is devastating for his family, who are now wondering how a 15-year-old driver got behind the wheel of a car without the presence of an adult.
The bottom line is that they were reckless, ”Echeverry said. “They played with someone’s life and he died.
In a frightening twist, Echeverry had just arrived on I-95 on Saturday night and was caught in the backing of an upcoming accident. It was only after exiting the freeway and rerouting that she learned that the accident had claimed the life of her older nephew.
“What we cannot understand is the brutality of the way he must have died,” she said. “This is what hurts us.”
A GoFundMe page collects donations for Lashaun Stephen’s family. Click here for more information.
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