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Advocacy group to 'S.T.A.N.D.' for Hannah Thorne

New Harbour teen Hannah Thorne was killed in a car accident in July. It’s alleged an illegal street race was the cause. Her friends and family have formed a foundation to raise awareness about the effects of negligent driving.
New Harbour teen Hannah Thorne was killed in a car accident in July. It’s alleged an illegal street race was the cause. Her friends and family have formed a foundation to raise awareness about the effects of negligent driving.

Hannah Thorne was just 18-years-old when she was killed in a head-on collision on July 7. A recent graduate from Crescent Collegiate in Blaketown, Hannah touched plenty of people in a short period of time.

She loved art, animals and music, especially playing guitar and a host of other instruments.

In late August, a pair of men were charged for allegedly street racing causing the accident that claimed Hannah's life. Her grandmother was also injured on the New Harbour Barrens. Amongst those charges are criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death and street racing causing death.

Now, friends and family members are putting their best foot forward in an attempt to make changes in this province regarding negligent and reckless driving.

The S.T.A.N.D. For Hannah Foundation was created in the last number of weeks to help raise awareness in hopes of aiding in the prevention of harm and death associated with reckless driving.

There are 12 members running the foundation, including Hannah's parents Gail and Levi. There's a group handling social media and some doing fundraising, while others handle media requests.

"We wanted to stand together against negligent driving," said foundation member and spokesman Dwayne Legge.

Negligent driving is a common sight on highways across this province. It's not just raising awareness on the dangers of street racing the group is targeting.

Crossing on a solid line, travelling at high speeds and other aspects that could lead to an accident and do someone harm are in the group's agenda.

The foundation is working to get parts of the province's Highway Traffic Act amended to raise the consequences for reckless driving in an attempt to curb people's tendencies on the road.

"We're looking to strengthen the policies and legislation," said Legge.

At the top of the list is making sure an individual has their license suspended immediately when there is evidence that negligent driving was a key factor in an accident. In Hannah's case, the accused still have the ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Legge said the foundation has had strong dialogue with government on this issue and is looking forward to seeing a positive result. They've met with Department of Motor Vehicles and Service NL, amongst others.

"They've been great to work with and speak with," he said. "They're going to be bringing our recommendation forward, and they'll be doing a jurisdictional scan to see what other provinces are doing.

"They want to work with us."

Education the key

In the future, the foundation hopes to get into schools through partnering with law enforcement agencies and other community group. Then, they'll speak with students about the consequences of reckless and negligent driving.

Legge said STAND has hopes of working with local filmmaker Roger Maunder on a video about the effects that kind of driving can have on families.

"We'd like to get in as a part of an education and awareness program in schools," he said.

SEE RELATED:

'Alleged street racer in fatal crash Brian King denied bail'

'Man accused in street racing death back in custody'

'Street racers accused of causing girl's death appear in court'

'Fatal accident on New Harbour Barrens'

The response to the foundation has been overwhelmingly positive. Stores around the region have donation boxes on their counters and the group's Facebook page has over 2,000 likes.

All of this is great, but it's the memory of Hannah that keeps the members moving forward.

"We wanted to turn something negative into a positive," said Legge. "We want to try and make change."

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

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