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Sierra Johnson. Courtesy photo.
East County Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2012 5 years ago

East County mourns loss

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

EAST COUNTY — The East County community will gather to remember the life of a 17-year-old girl nicknamed “Bubbles,” who loved God, loved people and loved music.

A celebration of life service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at Woodland the Community Church, 9607 S. R. 70, Bradenton, for Sierra Johnson, a 17-year-old who died Sept. 13, five days after the van in which she and six other people were riding had a “catastrophic tire failure” and flipped on Interstate 4 on the way to a Christian concert in Orlando.

“For those of you who knew Sierra well, you knew that she was vibrant, loud, spunky and loved bling,” wrote friend Garrett Vincent, who created an event page on Facebook for Johnson’s memorial service. “Her favorite color is purple, but she loved tropical colors. So, in her honor Friday, at the service, her parents have asked that everyone try to wear something bright.”

Since the accident, Johnson’s church, Journey Assembly of God in Bradenton, kept church members and friends updated on Johnson’s condition and the condition of other students injured in the crash, as did Johnson’s family, through its website and a Facebook page.

The page announced Johnson’s death by quoting her favorite Bible verse: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Johnson’s family wrote, “We bring you this news today that Sierra is now doing just that. Today Sierra has been promoted to glory and she is dancing with Jesus right now as we speak. We are so grateful for all of the people who have stood with us in prayer, friendship, love and sacrificial giving for Sierra during the most difficult past few days for our family.

“The only thing Sierra wanted in life was to be the catalyst to bring people to their knees to seek the Lord’s face in prayer. The amazing thing is that these past remaining few days of her life have been turned into just that. More than 8,500 people on this page alone, as well as countless people praying all over the world, talking to the Lord and spending time with Him. Her desire, accomplished.”

A fund has been set up to assist the Johnson family with medical bills. Donations can be made at or at Bank of America locations nationwide by asking to donate to the “Contribute to Sierra Johnson | Sarasota, Fla.” fund.

Her family does not have medical insurance.

Donna Wood, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, which handled the accident, said the crash investigation is ongoing.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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