High school football player killed in I-95 crash was ‘gentle giant,’ family says

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A family is mourning 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 his promising young life was cut short after a deadly crash Saturday night on I-95.

“Oh he was amazing,” Dayana Echeverry said of her nephew Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Local 10. “He would practice in the rain. If there was a hurricane coming, he would still practice. Everything was football. football was his life.”

A student at McArthur High School in Hollywood, Stephen towered over the other teens, standing 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Echeverry said. He went by the nickname “Big Baby.”

On Saturday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, Stephen was riding in the bed of a pickup truck along with a group of other 15-year-olds, heading northbound near the Hollywood Boulevard exit.

While trying to change lanes, troopers say the pick-up side-swiped another car, causing the pick-up’s driver to lose control and spin out.

Stephen was ejected and later died at the hospital.

“He fought so hard,” Echeverry said. “They tried to revive him but his heart couldn’t take it.”

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