Facts laid out in events leading up to Hannah Thorne’s death
Brian King back in court Nov. 20 for full-day sentencing hearing
WARNING: This story contains explicit language.
On July 7, 2016, a driver witnessed two vehicles drag racing after they passed him on the New Harbour Barrens.
A short while later, the same
driver came across the scene of a serious collision involving one of those vehicles — a burgundy Ford F-150 King Ranch truck. The driver — Brian Robert King — could he heard saying, “She is dead. My life is f--ked.”
Hannah Elizabeth Thorne, an 18-year-old from New Harbour, died in a head on collision with the vehicle King was driving that day. The 32-year-old Bay Roberts man entered guilty pleas last week for criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. On Thursday, he was back in court for a reading of the agreed statement of facts.
Those present in Harbour Grace Provincial Court last Thursday, including friends and family of Thorne, heard in full detail the events leading up to the crash. The chief medical examiner determined the victim died from multiple head injuries. A data recorder in the truck King was driving indicated it was travelling 130 kilometres per hour approximately five seconds before the collision. The vehicle would have hit Thorne and her grandmother’s car at a minimum speed of 94 kilometres per hour.
After police put out a call to the public asking for witnesses, multiple people came forward with stories to share about the two vehicles engaged in the race — King’s truck and a blue
Chevrolet Cobalt driven by the co-accused Steven Ryan Mercer of Upper Island Cove. Mercer has pleaded not guilty and recently re-elected to have his trial heard in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
One driver spotted the two vehicles near Green’s Harbour, approximately 9.5 kilometres from the collision site, and said they were moving very fast. Another witness saw the Cobalt pass the truck in an unsafe manner. A driver passed by the Ford F-150 on the New Harbour Barren who himself admitted to driving above the posted speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour estimated the truck was travelling at 160 kilometres per hour.
Thorne’s grandmother, Gertie Thorne, was the driver of the Accent. She sustained multiple injuries and required surgery on a leg. She remained in hospital for just over two months.
According to the facts, King was an uninsured driver at the time of the accident and bound by a probation order. He is currently not in custody.
Crown prosecutor Richard Deveau said eight victim impact statements would be submitted in relation to the case. A request has also been made for a pre-sentencing report. A full-day hearing where Crown and defence lawyers will make arguments for sentencing will be held Nov. 20 in Harbour Grace.
An RCMP photo of what the Hyundai Accent looked like following the collision that claimed Hannah Thorne’s life. Thorne and her grandmother were in the car.
Brian Robert King stands in a Harbour Grace courtroom following the Crown’s prosecutor’s reading of the agreed statement of facts in his criminal negligence causing death case.
This photo of the truck Brian King was driving on July 7, 2016 was entered as evidence in Harbour Grace Provincial Court Thursday.