MANATEE COUNTY - A Bradenton family is grieving the loss of their teenage daughter tonight.
Sierra Johnson, 17, was involved in a rollover accident on I-4 Saturday morning along with six other members of Journey Assembly of God Church. All seven were headed to a Christian rock concert in Orlando.
Johnson was riding in a van when a tire blew near mile marker 55 in Polk County. The van rolled over and struck the median. Johnson was thrown from the car and sustained severe head injuries.
"Our family desperately needs your prayers right now as this is a difficult time right now for us," Sierra's family said in the wake of her passing. "Thank you again for the support, thank you for the love and thank you for taking the time to show love and compassion to our beloved daughter Sierra!!"
Sierra was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center and was in very critical condition. The swelling on her brain was so severe doctors say they could not surgically insert a stent to release the pressure. Instead, they relied on medication.
Doctors did not give Sierra a good prognosis. They told family members if Sierra survived, she would likely be bed ridden and hooked up to multiple tubes.
Still, the family hoped and prayed for a miracle.
"All she ever wanted in her life was to bring people to God, and have them pray," Sierra mother Suzanne told ABC Action News Tuesday. "So that's all I want for her is just that the community and the world just pray for her. Because I believe in miracles. So, Sierra would appreciate that."
A vigil was to be held at the Bradenton church on Saturday. According to Facebook posts from family friends, that vigil has been canceled.
Family members say they will start planning a memorial service Friday morning.
Sierra was senior at the Manatee School for the Arts.
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