Street rac­ers ac­cused of caus­ing girl’s death

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON TC MEDIA ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

It was a tense scene out­side Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court last week as a large crowd waited for two men whose ac­tions are al­legedly re­spon­si­ble for the death of some­one they loved and cared for.

Once the clock struck 1:30 p.m. last Mon­day, doors to po- lice ve­hi­cles were opened and of­fi­cers es­corted Brian Robert King and Steven Ryan Mercer into the build­ing. Greet­ing them were peo­ple hold­ing up pic­tures of Han­nah Thorne. The 18-yearold was a pas­sen­ger in one of the ve­hi­cles in­volved in a twove­hi­cle ac­ci­dent on July 7. The teen from New Har­bour didn’t sur­vive. Her grand­mother, who was driv­ing Han­nah home that day, was in­jured.

King, 30, and Mercer, 29, were al­legedly en­gaged in an il­le­gal street race while trav­el­ling along the New Har­bour Bar­rens. They face iden­ti­cal charges — crim­i­nal neg­li­gence in the op­er­a­tion of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle caus­ing death, crim­i­nal neg­li­gence in the op­er­a­tion of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle caus­ing bod­ily harm, street rac­ing caus­ing death, street rac­ing caus­ing bod­ily harm and breach of pro­ba­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Bay Roberts RCMP, King was the driver in the sec­ond ve­hi­cle in­volved in the col­li­sion. He lives in Bay Roberts and works in Al­berta, while Mercer re­sides in Up­per Is­land Cove.

Their heads were low­ered sit­ting in the pris­oner’s box as peo­ple filled up the court­room. The next day, a judge granted the two men an in­terim ju­di­cial re­lease. They would each need to pay $5,000 and com­ply with a num­ber of con­di­tions. That in­cludes hav­ing no con­tact with sev­eral wit­nesses in the case.

In a Face­book post pub­lished just over a week af­ter the ac­ci­dent, Han­nah’s mother Gail talked about what the fam­ily was go­ing through los­ing her at such a young age.

“Han­nah was trag­i­cally killed and taken from us all much too early,” she wrote. “Our loss, and your loss too, is too great to bear on our own, but some­how to­gether we are help­ing each other move for­ward. We know you are sad, an­gry and are still griev­ing just as we are, but we urge you to please use your en­ergy and fo­cus in a pos­i­tive way. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on the ac­tions of others, con­sider how we all can be safer driv­ers. En­joy ev­ery sec­ond with your loved ones and hug them a lit­tle tighter.”

ANDREW ROBIN­SON/TC MEDIA

Brian Robert King, left, and Steven Ryan Mercer ap­peared at Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court last week.

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