Street racers accused of causing girl’s death
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.”
Brian Robert King, left, and Steven Ryan Mercer appeared at Harbour Grace Provincial Court last week.