Mercedes Fraser

Mercedes Fraser

Family calls for justice

A family insists the tragic loss of a Vernon teen is not being taken seriously enough by the courts

A family insists the tragic loss of a Vernon teen is not being taken seriously enough by the courts.

On Wednesday, Rose Harmon, 69, was sentenced for her role in the death of Mercedes Fraser, who was riding her bicycle at 25th Avenue and 37th Street Aug. 17, 2012. Harmon, who was charged with driving without due care and attention, received a one-month driving suspension and a $1,500 fine.

“Were we looking for jail time, not necessarily. But she should have had her license suspended indefinitely,” said Darrel Wihnon, Fraser’s uncle.

“We’re able to move on as a family but the decision will be gnawing at us for some time. If someone gets killed whether it’s through negligence or impairment, they should be held liable.”

However, Crown counsel Howard Pontious says the court ruling reflects case history.

“The outcome was very predictable because there have been lots of cases about due care and attention,” said Pontious.

“The courts have said cases of momentary inattention do not result in dangerous driving charges. People make mistakes. People drive across fog lines. People drive across centre lines.”

Pontious points out that motorists have insurance for cases of negligence.

“If we were to jail people for negligence we would be criminalizing it and there would be no need for insurance.”

Harmon had been driving for 40 years.

“Prior to the accident, there had never been a problem with her driving,” said Pontious.

Pontious describes the entire case as tragic and says that he understands the sentiments coming from Fraser’s family.

“The family’s reaction resulted in a license suspension which doesn’t generally  happen if there is a clean driving record,” he said.


Fraser, who was preparing to enter Grade 12 at Fulton Secondary, was working at the Vernon Army Camp and was also delivering The Morning Star.