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East Northport man victim in Tampa hit-run

A college student from East Northport was in serious condition Thursday in a Tampa hospital where he has been since he was struck by a hit-and-run motorist on Jan. 20.

Vincent Lanci, 21, a graduate of Northport High School and a finance major at the University of Tampa, where he is a senior, was struck while crossing at an intersection about a block from his Tampa apartment, police said.

Carolyn Dondero of East Northport, a spokeswoman for Lanci's family, said, a police officer was on patrol nearby, saw the collision, called for an ambulance and blocked off the scene to prevent other cars from striking Lanci, who lay in the roadway.

Dondero said the ambulance came quickly, and the squad car's camera caught the image of the car that sped away, although responding police cars did not immediately locate it. The car was initially described by police as "A gray or silver Acura RL 2005-2008, 4-door sedan Its right side mirror is missing."

The car was located about two days later, police said, and Tampa detectives were still investigating Thursday, trying to determine who was driving at the time of the crash.

Lanci was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he was initially listed in critical condition, police said. He was unconscious, with a fractured tibia, and on a respirator with a traumatic brain injury, Dondero said.

After surgery, there has been some improvement in his condition, Dondero, but she and his family expect that it will be a long road to recovery.

"He felt his biggest accomplishment was that he was going to graduate in four years, but now that's not going to happen," Dondero said. "He doesn't have a memory of the accident. Sometimes he knows what's going on and sometimes he doesn't. . . . He recognizes me and five minutes later, he couldn't."

Dondero said Lanci and one of her daughters grew up together in East Northport, going through the school system there. "He's like a son," she said. "He's a vivacious, happy young man . . . played a lot of baseball . . . a die-hard Yankees fan. He likes to work out. Now he will need a speech therapist, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist."

Tampa police have not released any updated information concerning their investigation. Dondero said Lanci's family has put up a $1,000 reward, hoping people with knowledge or evidence about the crash will step forward.

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