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Nearly 1,400 come out for Lakewood Ranch teens' funeral

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Nearly 1,400 Lakewood Ranch High School students, friends and family members came out today to say goodbye to Josh Rogers and Brett Wagner at a combined celebration of life service for the Mustang seniors.

Brett, 18, died Sunday and Josh, 18, died Tuesday following a Christmas night crash at the intersection of State Road 64 and Rye Road.

The boys’ service was at Bayside Community Church, 15800 S.R. 64 E.

Family members said they decided to combine the services because Brett and Josh were such close friends for so many years.

When they were little boys they played flag football together for the East Manatee Bulldogs.

They later played football together for Lakewood Ranch High School and even raised pigs together in FFA, family members said.

At about 9:25 p.m. Dec. 25, Josh was driving with Brett in the rear seat and Brett’s cousin, Terron Sanders, 24, in the front seat next to Rogers, Sanders said.

A four-door Nissan pulled out from a stop sign at Rye Road and struck Josh’s truck, causing it to roll several times.

Josh and Brett were both ejected and suffered head trauma, family members said.

The Nissan’s driver, a 73-year-old Lakewood Ranch man, was cited with failure to yield right of way, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Only Sanders, who walked away with minor injuries, was wearing his seat belt, the FHP reported.

Burial or cremation details are undecided for Josh. Brett will be cremated.

Josh’s family is dealing with medical bills from his two-day fight for life in the Intensive Care Unit at Blake Medical Center. Those who wish to help can mail a donation to: Josh Rogers Memorial Fund, c/o Fifth Third Bank, 6601 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton 34209.

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