CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Middleburg father, who remembers his son as a “good kid,” said his son was the victim in a deadly hit-and-run crash that happened in Clay County in February.
“He would help anybody and everybody,” said Jerol Stepp about his only son, Jerry Lee Stepp. “If you were broken down on the side of the road, he would stop to help you. He was a good kid. Everywhere we went, he would always go with me. We went to races a lot. He was very helpful if I ever needed anything.”
Jerry would have celebrated his 23rd birthday on March 2, but the crash on Feb. 6 around 10:30 a.m. on Blanding Blvd a few weeks earlier changed everything.
Jerol said his son was heading to pick up his very first paycheck for a paint job he did for the company he just started.
Jerry was driving on Blanding Boulevard toward this intersection of Orange Park Northway right outside of the Orange Park Mall.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, another man driving an SUV went through the light and hit Jerry’s car, causing him to lose control and flip several times.
The driver ran away from the scene.
Jerry was ejected from the blue Chevrolet Tahoe he was driving.
The report says he was not wearing his seatbelt, which haunts his father.
“If your kids do not wear a seatbelt, tell them to wear their seatbelts,” Jerol said. “I do not want to see anyone ever go through what I’m going through right now. It is hard to swallow that a seatbelt could’ve saved my son’s life.”
Jerry died three days later after being taken off life support.
Jerol said his son donated his kidneys, which ultimately saved two people’s lives.
So far, FHP has not made any arrests in the hit-and-run and there is no description of the man investigators are looking for other than that he is 36 years old.
Jerol hopes that man turns himself in instead of staying on the run.
“Tell the truth, because the truth is going to come out,” Jerol said.
FHP’s investigation of the crash continues as a grieving father fights for justice.
Family members have put together a GoFundMe to help with financial expenses.