POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — “He had a heart as big as any superhero,” said Shelley Sanders.

Sanders’ stepson, Brandon Sanders, grew up wearing capes.

“Whether it be a towel, a blanket or a Halloween costume,” said Sanders.

For one Halloween, he dressed up as a Power Ranger. He was a hero from the start.

Courtesy: Mike Sanders

“Brandon was always there for anyone who needed anything, always,” Shelley Sanders said.

Brandon Sanders enjoyed going out to eat, playing video games, watching Marvel films, going to Walt Disney World and taking cruises with his friends, his family said.

His father, Mike Sanders says he saw his son change when he hiked all 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

“It changed him. He came back super mature and dedicated and ready to go to work,” said Mike Sanders.

On Monday morning, he was traveling from his home in Frostproof to Melbourne, where his father and stepmother live, for his job with ServPro.

That’s when Brandon Sanders came upon a two-vehicle car crash at the intersection of State Road 60 and County Road 630 in Lake Wales and pulled over to help.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a 15-year old driver was taking his 12-year old sister to school and collided with a pickup truck.

Courtesy: Polk County Sheriff’s Office

“It didn’t surprise me a bit that he stopped and tried to help,” said his father, Mike Sanders. “He’s done it before with people just having car trouble or whatever. He wasn’t a mechanic or anything but he would stop to see if he could do anything to help them.”

As Sanders was helping the victims, the sheriff’s office says, a white 2012 Honda Odyssey van struck the pickup truck, which hit Sanders. Sanders died at the scene. Whoever was in the van, fled on foot.

“Our early information doesn’t help us at all. It turns out it’s a scrapped vehicle out of Arizona. Did you hear what I said? So there’s not a registration,” Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference Monday.

The van was serviced twice this year, once in Arizona, and also in New Mexico, according to the sheriff’s office.

“I hope like hell that they catch whoever did that,” said Mike Sanders.

However, when it comes to their punishment, Sanders’ thoughts on the matter were more nuanced.

“If it’s some sort of criminal, someone running from the law or whatever that is, then I’m going to want some pretty serious justice. If it was a complete accident and somebody was scared and ran off, that may be different,” he said.

Sheriff Judd said the suspects ran into a wooded area and are still being sought.

“As a result of him being a good Samaritan and being the kind of person you would always want to stop and help at a crash, he’s deceased this day and why is he deceased this day? Because you’ve got some morons driving this little POS van and they can’t see this big crash in the middle of the road with cars all twisted around?” Sheriff Judd added.

The three people involved in the initial crash are expected to survive.

The 12-year old girl, who was the most seriously injured, has underwent two surgeries and is expected to be released from the hospital Thursday.

According to a sheriff’s office spokesperson, both the 15-year old driver and their mother have been cited.

“They were not the cause of what happened to Brandon, and I don’t want them to feel in any way, shape or form that they were. The cause of what happened to Brandon were the person or persons who fled the scene. Those were the guilty ones,” said Shelley Sanders.

Heartland Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest. Tips can be made anonymously by calling 1-800-226-TIPS.