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Wilton Manors residents share grief at city commission meeting following deadly Pride parade incident

Wilton Manors commission meetings gives community opportunity to share grief
Wilton Manors commission meetings gives community opportunity to share grief

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – A community is in mourning after Saturday’s tragic events before a Pride parade in Wilton Manors.

The public shared their grief at Tuesday night’s scheduled commission meeting, in which the mic was opened for neighbors to process what they lived through.

Some people talked about witnessing the horror while others shared why they’re still so upset.

“In this case, Dean Trantalis, mayor of Fort Lauderdale, didn’t want to wait 10 minutes to talk to the police and command that day, to find out what was going on,” said Wilton Manors resident Michael Rajner.

The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus is now broken and struggling to lift those who survived Saturday’s horrifying crash at the Wilton Manors Pride Parade.

That includes the driver, 77-year-old Fred Johnson.

Police say he accidentally slipped, hitting the gas of a white pickup truck, fatally striking fellow chorus member, 75-year-old Jim Fahy and seriously injuring 67-year-old Jerry Vroegh.

Chuck Gregory said Johnson, his friend and a longtime member of the chorus, is struggling with what happened.

“I mean, it just keeps going through his mind and, you know, keeps seeing it like a movie,” Gregory said. “They’re all very good friends and so it’s heartbreaking.”

Johnson is also a supply priest at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Hollywood, described as a man of God who helps the homeless and guides his friends through tough times.

“I’ve become very involved in the church and it all goes back to Fred,” Gregory said.

Gregory also said he’s concerned for his friend and is asking the community for their love and support.

“He needs your prayers and support,” Gregory said.

A Crisis Management Team will be at the Hagen Park Community Center right behind city hall Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

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About the Author:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.