ORLANDO, Fla. - The search is on for a gold-colored car that may have been involved in a deadly hit-and-run crash Thursday morning on Interstate 4 in Orlando.
Orlando police identified the victim as 61-year-old Steve Hughes, of Kissimmee.
Hughes' wife of 39 years, Sue, told Local 6 that her husband was on his way to work at Lake Eola Charter School in downtown Orlando at the time of the crash. Hughes had taught social studies at the school for eight years.
Police said Hughes was heading east on I-4 in the outer right lane around 6:20 a.m. Thursday when, according to witnesses, a car in the center lane may have tried to change lanes, possibly hitting Hughes' red Hyundai.
Hughes' car ran off the interstate and struck a tree near Orange Blossom Trail. He was pronounced dead at the scene while the driver of the other car kept going, police said.
In addition to his wife, Hughes leaves behind two daughters and four grandchildren.
"Our family is terribly saddened by the loss of our father/husband. We appreciate the community's tremendous outpouring of love, support and prayers that are guiding us through this. He was a man of great faith and we take comfort in that now. We ask that anyone with information that may be helpful contact the investigators at the Orlando Police Department," the Hughes family said in a statement.
Former students expressed their shock over their teacher's death on Twitter. One tweet reads, "Why do bad things happen to good people? I can't believe you're gone. You will be missed greatly Mr. Hughes."
Liley Thompson, 87, has lived right across the street from Hughes for two decades.
The Kissimmee resident described Hughes as a passionate educator, not just to students at Lake Eola Charter but to everyone he encountered.
"They're my neighbors, my friends, my protectors, they're everything," said Thompson. "Whatever (happened), especially if it is something that is not nice -- criminal-like -- I would like them to get the person."
I-4 eastbound was closed Thursday morning at John Young Parkway, backing up traffic for miles before it later reopened.
Anyone with information about the gold-colored car is urged to call Orlando police.
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