Lantern ceremony honors Alana Tamplin in North Fort Myers

A community held a lantern release in honor of a girl killed in a hit-and-run at a bus stop after she had dropped off her younger sister for school.

We have reported about the crash that killed Alana Tamplin in North Fort Myers. Thursday night, the rain held off just long enough for family, friends and neighbors to let lanterns take to the sky and make sure Alana’s memory is not forgotten.

“She was crazy; she was goofy; she was a spitfire; and she’s intelligent,” said Sarah Tamplin, Alana’s mother. “And she used that to the best of her advantage.”

Alana’s best friend, Brooklyn Davis, wrote the last text message they shared together on the lantern she released into the night.

“We were always together,” Brooklyn said.

And Alana’s sister, Sky Tamplin, told us exactly why everyone was gathered.

“It’s in honor of Alana, “Skye said. “We want to honor her.”

During a gathering for prayer and honoring a daughter, sister and friend, Alana’s mother also reminded us another reason to come together for her daughter.

“We are not going to give up,” Sarah said. “We’re not letting her memory be forgotten, and we’re not gonna let anyone forget her. And we’re not going down without a fight.”

The lanterns take on a new meaning, since Alana’s family now knows who hit and killed her back in January, steps away from Skye’s bus stop. And we reported on new surveillance video that shows what appears to be the driver after the hit-and-run going back to the scene.

“I haven’t thought about what message to send her,” Sarah said. “My main goal right now is the truth.”

Along with new surveillance, we also learned the accused driver could face criminal charges. Currently, they face a fine for Careless Driving and must appear in court.

“I’m hoping for justice,” said Daryl Tamplin, Alana’s father. “Because any other state I’ve lived in, this is vehicular manslaughter without a doubt.”

The Florida Highway Patrol said they have sent Alana’s case to the state attorney’s office for review.

“I don’t want to see a fine, ” Sarah said. “I want to see someone that goes to jail, and I want to see the answers that my family so deserves.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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