Facts laid out in events lead­ing up to Han­nah Thorne’s death

Brian King back in court Nov. 20 for full-day sen­tenc­ing hear­ing

The Compass - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW ROBINSON

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.

AN­DREW ROBINSON

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.

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