Person in custody for crash that killed teacher, injured another woman outside Orland Square Mall, police say

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- A person is in custody in relation to the hit-and-run crash that killed an educator and injured another long-time teacher outside Orland Square Mall, police said.

Orland Park police said they will hold a press conference Saturday morning with more information, and no further information will be released before that.

Margaret "Rone" Leja, 61, was killed and fellow teacher Liz Kosteck was seriously injured as they walked in the Orland Square Mall parking lot Wednesday night.

RELATED: Orland Park hit-and-run: Victims ID'd as St. Michael School teachers leaving Christmas party

They had just left a staff Christmas party at a restaurant. The driver of a light-colored vehicle hit them and sped away.

"I was absolutely shocked, and I honestly couldn't believe it," said Maureen Morrissey, assistant principal of St. Michael's school. "I mean, we were literally just together ten minutes prior."

At St. Michael School, where Leja was a technology coach, blue ribbons honor her memory. She previously worked at Marian Catholic High School and did pioneering work as an educator...
"She taught physics here," said Steve Tortorello, Marian Catholic HS principal. "She was the first teacher in our engineering program here, helped us pilot that. So she was always very passionate."

Jan Brown is a longtime friend. The two spoke to each other every day. She can't believe her friend of over 20 years is gone.

"It's gonna be an adjustment, she's a big part of my life," she said. "I am astonished by the grief that I feel, that connection will always be there."

WATCH: Orland Park police give update on hit-and-run investigation
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Two teachers were struck in an apparent hit-and-run Wednesday night near Orland Square Mall, police said. One later died from her injuries.


Read the full St. Michael School message below:

Good evening,

It is with great sadness and shock that I send this message. This evening after our Parish Christmas party Mrs. Kosteck and Ms. Leja were walking to their cars and were struck by a vehicle. They were taken to the hospital and while Mrs. Kosteck sustained injuries, Ms. Leja passed away. The faculty and parish priests are currently at Silver Cross hospital gathered in prayer for our colleagues.

In light of this event, we will have a 9 am start tomorrow, Thursday. Because of this, there will be no morning bus service. Our faculty is grieving the loss of their dear friend and colleague and will be gathering privately before school opens.

Upon the children's arrival, we will have a prayer service led by Fr, Frank.

We ask for your prayers in this time of sorrow. We will continue to keep you updated throughout the day.


If you were in the area and witnessed anything or have any information on the offending vehicle/driver please contact the Orland Park Police at 708-349-4111 or crimetips@orlandpark.org.
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