Hannah Thorne street racing death: Brian King driving 130 km/h in seconds before crash

Eighteen year old Hannah Thorne of New Harbour died of multiple head injuries following a street racing incident 15 months ago, a Harbour Grace court was told Thursday.

Agreed statement of facts reveals street race covered nearly 10 kilometres before deadly conclusion

This photo of the Hannah Thorne crash scene was entered into provincial court in Harbour Grace Thursday. The Hyundai Accent in which Thorne was a passenger is in the foreground, while the Ford pickup driven by street racer Brian King is in the background. (Provincial court)

The truck that killed Hannah Thorne in a street race on the New Harbour Barrens 15 months ago was travelling at 130 km/h in the seconds before the crash, a court in Harbour Grace court was told Thursday.

It was also revealed that Thorne, 18, died of multiple head injuries.

That was just some of the information that emerged as the case against Brian Robert King of Bay Roberts continued to make its way through the legal system.

King driving without insurance

King has pleaded guilty to street racing causing death and dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm.

In a statement of facts endorsed by all sides, he acknowledged that he was racing with Steven Ryan Mercer of Upper Island Cove on July 7, 2016.

King sat quietly in the courtroom, while family and friends of Hannah Thorne listened intently as all the painful details were revealed.

Brian Robert King of Bay Roberts appeared in provincial court in Harbour Grace Thursday. He has pleaded guilty to a street racing incident that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Hannah Thorne. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

King, with no vehicle insurance and on probation, was driving a King Ranch model Ford F-150 pickup, while Mercer was behind the wheel of a Chevy Cobalt.

Hannah Thorne was in the passenger seat of a Hyundai Accent, with her 81-year-old grandmother, Gertie Thorne, at the wheel. They were travelling west to Hannah's home in New Harbour, with Hannah having finished Day 3 of a new summer job in Carbonear.

Collision occurred in no-passing zone

King and Mercer started street racing near Green's Harbour, Trinity Bay at around 5 p.m. on a sunny, early summer day.

After speeding south on Route 80, they turned east onto Route 75 towards Tilton, with multiple witnesses telling police they were overtaken at high speed by the two vehicles.

Just east of Denny's Pond, in a no passing zone and near the crest of a small hill, Mercer overtook a vehicle and pulled back into his lane. King attempted to do the same, but he was too late.

His pickup smashed into the Hyundai Accent. 

Photos submitted to the court illustrate the extensive damage to both vehicles, but the consequences were far worse inside the small car.

Gertie Thorne's body was shattered, with many broken bones. She would spend the next two months in hospital.

Hannah Thorne died at the scene of serious head trauma.

Mercer fighting the charges in Supreme Court

According to a witness quoted in the agreed statement of facts, King's first concern was for his own future, reportedly saying, "She's dead. My life is f--ked."

Hannah Thorne of New Harbour was 18 years-of-age when she was killed in a street racing incident 15 months ago. (Facebook)

King refused to make any comment following his court appearance Thursday. He will be back in provincial court Nov. 20 to hear victim impact statements.

Steven Mercer, meanwhile, is fighting the charges against him in Supreme Court, and may not go to trial until next year.

About the Author

Terry Roberts

CBC News

Terry Roberts is a journalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.