Friends of Hannah Thorne warn students against dangerous driving
Friends wore T-shirts and lipstick in Thorne's favourite colour to bring message to Blaketown school
National Teen Driver Safety Week kicked off on a sombre note in Blaketown, Newfoundland, at the school Hannah Thorne graduated from before she was killed by a man in a street race.
Wearing the purple lipstick that belonged to Thorne, several of her friends spoke to students at Crescent Collegiate about the tragic consequences of dangerous driving.
"Hannah's death was 100 per cent preventable," said Kylie Jackson, a lifelong friend. "Negligent driving is happening daily and fatalities are becoming more frequent."
Jackson manages the STAND for Hannah foundation — an acronym for Standing Together Against Negligent Driving. The group's aim is to educate the public on the dangers of reckless driving, and lobby for legislative change.
One of their initiatives is speaking with students and sharing Thorne's story.
Take driving seriously, girls urge
Reliving their trauma in front of an audience is no small task.
"It's especially hard where she was my best friend and I talked to her about everything," said Sara March. "And now that I know she's not around for me to do that anymore, it's really hard."
But there is a sense of duty, to make sure their friend's death can be used for positive change.
"It's super important, because most of the senior high [students] now have their driver's licence," March said. "Where Hannah only graduated a few years ago, it is nice to try to get people to see that driving is a serious thing and it needs to be taken seriously."
Thorne was 18 when she was killed by a truck travelling 130 kilometres an hour, with the driver racing against another man in a pickup.
Brian King and Steven Mercer were arrested after the crash on July 7, 2016.
Thorne was in the passenger seat of a Hyundai Accent, driven by her 81-year-old grandmother, Gertie, who was badly injured in the crash.
On a narrow stretch of road on Route 75 towards the small town of Tilton, Mercer crossed a solid yellow line to pass a vehicle.
King tried the same, but drove head on into the Thorne family. In September, he pleaded guilty to street racing causing death. Mercer is headed to trial in Supreme Court.
Thorne's diploma and graduation cap hang on the wall at Crescent Collegiate, a reminder of who she was and what she could have become.
"You realize that she had such potential and she had so much life ahead of her," said Kayla Pretty.
"But because of two people who weren't thinking about what they were doing and made wrong decisions, she can't do that anymore. And she is very missed."