Orlando father seeks answers after son is killed in a hit
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Jason Stiteler won’t be able to enjoy evening walks with his father. He won’t be able to attend the honor classes for which he worked so hard for the next school year.
He will miss a lot of things because he was killed in an accident. Everything his father, Dr. John Stiteler, wants, is closure and answers.
What you need to know
- Jason Stiteler died in a fatal accident two months ago
- The driver of the accident was never caught or came forward
- A father shares his grief over the loss of his teenage son’s life
Stiteler is sitting in his Orlando office at Total Health Guidance on a Monday afternoon, two months after his 17-year-old son was killed.
Jason Stiteler crossed the street on Conroy Road at the intersection of Hidden Beach Boulevard when a car believed to be a two-door Honda Accord from 2006 or 2007 was a junior at Olympic High School on Feb.27 met and killed before he fled the scene, according to the Orlando Police Department.
TRYING TO FIND A LOCATION: We need your help to locate a ’06 -’07 Honda Accord, similar to this photo. A 17-year-old boy was killed trying to cross Conroy. The information? Call 321-235-5300. pic.twitter.com/jJN8z0CSDj
– Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) March 13, 2021
In a message to Spectrum News 13, police officers said they had debris from the front of the vehicle that was left behind by the accident. However, they admitted that there are no eyewitnesses, photos or videos of the incident.
Stiteler shared many things about his son, for example, although he had emotional and behavioral problems in his youth and at one point took medication for them, he overcame those difficulties.
“For the past three to four years he’s really teamed up and it’s been really good, no medication at all and really good in many ways. He played soccer for Olympia High School in his freshman year, ”said the 55-year-old Stiteler.
In fact, Jason signed up to take senior honors classes the next school year, which people couldn’t believe, said his father proudly, who described his son as an introvert.
After high school, Jason planned to attend Valencia College for two years and then go to Palm Beach Atlantic University like his two older sisters, his father said.
After graduating, the young Stiteler hoped to work either as a consultant in his father’s advice center or in the marketing department.
While he was having dreams, he was still very grounded, his father said. When he wasn’t playing Xbox with his friends and was a member of his church youth group, Jason enjoyed evening walks with his father and was with him physically, either wrestling or scratching his back.
“He definitely loved the physical connection,” described John Stiteler.
However, it all ended suddenly.
One last meal with his son
“We’ve probably had the best day in a long time. Really, the past few months have been just so good. We got on so well. … We had his favorite meal that evening and were looking forward to going to the beach the next morning, ”he remembered the night of Jason’s death.
John Stiteler said he went to bed early that evening and the next thing he knew it was 2 a.m. when the police knocked on his front door. At first he thought one of his neighbors had called the authorities because his son was playing video games too loudly.
But that didn’t happen when police said his only son was killed in an accident right outside their home – just 25 meters from their front door – in Montevista in the Windermere Apartments.
“It was obviously a total shock. They told me he walked and was killed by a driver and that was all they knew at the time. … I suspect he probably went to the park where we play Pokémon Go and he probably just went to get tired, to go to sleep, ”he said before trailing off in a moment of thought.
He revealed that it wasn’t uncommon for Jason to go for a walk in the evening when he couldn’t sleep, and he believes his son took one around 10:30 pm that night.
The police are still looking for the driver John Stiteler hopes will provide answers.
“I would love to have a shutdown to find out what happened,” he said after saying that he would offer forgiveness to the driver if there was any guilt. “I know we can’t change the past, but it would be helpful to get the deal done and maybe just answer a few questions.”
Sat down with @ MyNews13, John Stiteler says he wants some answers after a driver fatally hit his son and left the scene.
He tells more about what his son Jason was like and how he dealt with his grief here: https://t.co/hsaNtQwtvJ pic.twitter.com/c9Jv6iKjgR
– Anthony Leone (@AnthonyLeone) May 1, 2021
Take it one moment at a time
Because of his job, John Stiteler said he had held grief workshops for years, including a government contract, to counsel those affected by the Pulse shootings.
However, being on the other side of things is different, he admitted.
“I’ve been in grief counseling for many years and it’s definitely different to be on the (other) side. I mean, I mourned losses before, but nothing, nothing compared to that, ”he confessed.
Months later, he says he is still going through periods of grief, commenting that while people were telling him to take it day in and day out, he said for him it was moment by moment and sometimes hour by hour.
He revealed that even something as simple as visiting a grocery store brought back a flurry of memories and emotions.
“I went to Publix the other day and they had a wide choice of buying one, getting a free pork loin, which was his favorite food and that’s the food I made for him the night he died and I literally fell to the floor from Publix and cried for 10 minutes. … Then, half an hour later, I was able to sit down and be functional again. I don’t have really bad days, I just have bad moments, ”he shared.
He said that he was grateful to his family, friends, and church for helping him get through this difficult time, and shared that Jason’s mother and sisters are doing the best they can and that they have a lot of support.
But what would really help, he said, is for the driver of the car that hit his teenage son to come up front and explain what happened that night.
Anyone with information about the fatal crash can call the Orlando Police Department at 1-321-235-5300.