Local News

Prayer vigil set for hit-and-run victim

SEBRING - A prayer vigil has been set Wednesday for Sebring resident Johnny Tanner, who was critically injured during a hit-and-run accident Friday night.
Family friend Diane Pollard has invited the whole community to congregate at 8 p.m. at the Circle in downtown Sebring and pray for Tanner, who remains in critical but stable condition at the intensive care unit of Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
Tanner, who is a former firefighter and father of two girls, is suffering from traumatic brain injury, said a hospital official. His wife released the information through a Lakeland Regional spokeswoman.
Pollard said pastors will lead the prayer. They are trying to get a gospel music group to perform, she added, and she asked people to bring their own candles.
“We would like to see the Circle packed with people,” she said.
Mitchell Landol Rodriguez, 51, 5115 Sebring Road, has been charged with driving while license suspended, giving false information and failure to remain at an accident involving injuries, in connection with the accident.
He was arrested a couple of blocks from the scene of the accident, authorities said. According to Highlands County Jail records, this was Rodriguez's second offense driving with a suspended driver's license.
Desoto City Volunteer Fire Chief Ben DeBree said in an earlier story that he was told that Tanner regularly walked along Desoto City Road, where he was hit.
DeBree said firefighters did not find out until the next day it was one of their own.
“We never got to see who it was,” he said. “It was a shock to everyone.”
Tanner works for the Highlands County Road and Bridge Department, DeBree said.
Pollard, who is a longtime family friend, described Tanner as a friendly, God-loving person, who is a loving husband and a father.