‘He was only 24:’ Mother mourns son who died when car fell from SR-408 onto I-4 in Orlando

Frances Dejesus says son moved to Orlando ‘to have a new start in his life’

The mother of the driver who died Monday after flying over a ramp and landing on Interstate 4 near the State Road 408 interchange in Orlando spoke to News 6 about her son.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The mother of the driver who died Monday after flying over a ramp and landing on Interstate 4 near the State Road 408 interchange in Orlando spoke to News 6 about her son.

Frances Dejesus said Arcadio Shakur-Dejesus had big plans for his new life in Central Florida.

“He was only 24. He had his whole life ahead of him,” Frances Dejesus told News 6.

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Shakur-Dejesus was killed Monday morning when he, likely speeding, drove over the barrier on S.R. 408 in downtown Orlando and dropped onto I-4, police said.

Dejesus said she is heartbroken over the loss of her son.

She spoke with News 6 from Maryland, where she is now grieving that loss from hundreds of miles away. Dejesus said the 24-year-old followed his sister to Florida a few months ago and got a job at a restaurant.

“He wanted to have a new start in his life he said. So, he felt like there was no distractions or anything there and he could start all fresh and new, and he did. He was doing really good,” Dejesus said.

According to the Orlando Police Department, Shakur-Dejesus drove over the barrier while exiting I-4 onto SR-408 Monday morning while going too fast.

“A single vehicle was traveling westbound on Interstate 4 and exited to State Road 408. While the vehicle was exiting, it left the roadway and fell,” Sgt. Ross Hutto with the Orlando Police Department said. “During the preliminary investigation, the car was probably going too fast and went up and over the barrier and fell down.”

Dejesus said she wonders where he was going before the crash.

“That’s what they’re trying to investigate. See if he was running late to work or where he was headed,” Dejesus said.

She said she last spoke to her son on the phone Sunday, the day before the crash. Dejesus added he dreamed of becoming a chef and opening his own food truck or restaurant.

“His passion was food. That’s all he wanted to do,” Dejesus said. “He didn’t want to work anywhere else but food. He’s like, ‘That’s what I like to do, Mom.’”

His mother said the family hopes to have a memorial service in Florida and in the Northeast, where most of his family lives. They are working to raise money for the services.


About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.