Ocoee police arrest driver accused of hitting kids on bike

Man charged with leaving scene, reckless driving

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter, Michelle Dendy - Web Editor

OCOEE, Fla. - The driver accused of hitting two elementary students riding home from school on their bikes has been released from jail, Ocoee police say.

Lastevie V. Howard, 40, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury and reckless driving with great bodily harm, police said.

Howard was arrested and booked Friday afternoon into the Orange County Jail. He was released from jail Saturday morning.

The family of one of the victims, 10-year-old Jordan El Ouadi, told Local 6 despite the arrest, their focus is on Aubrey Clark's recovery. Clark has been in critical condition with severe brain damage since the crash last week.

Howard struck the boy and the girl, who were on the sidewalk heading home from Citrus Elementary School, with his SUV near the intersection of North Clarke Road and East Silver Star Road, investigators said.

Fifth-grader Clark has 80 percent of her brain damaged. El Ouadi was riding with Aubrey and suffered minor injuries.

"He's doing good. I think they continue to monitor his progress to make sure that's there are no injuries or anything," said Cliff Cox, Jordan's uncle. "They're on the sidewalk, holding their bikes, wearing their helmets, following instructions, being careful and then this happens. And then on top of that, you've got the guy that's going to run."

Ocoee police said Friday that red-light cameras did not support Howard's story that he was not trying to leave the scene. They said it showed him driving almost half a mile from the crash site before witnesses caught up to him.

Police said Howard had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash and that additional charges could be pending.

Howard's attorney said he would not comment until he was able to see the charging affidavit.

"Hopefully, justice will prevail and more importantly, I hope the kids can get back on their bikes," said Cox.?

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