February 12, 2009 in City

Mourners gather at memorial for dragging victim

By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

Father Joe Hien of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church leads a prayer service with Trinity Catholic School students Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009, at the intersection of Cedar and Carlisle near where Susette Werner was struck and killed by a hit and run driver Feb 8, 2009.
(Full-size photo)

Funeral mass

Funeral mass for Susette G. Werner is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Assumption Parrish, 3624 W Indian Trail Rd., Spokane.

Flowers, balloons and a wooden cross atop a dirty snow berm at Carlisle and Cedar streets create a makeshift memorial for the Spokane woman hit by an unknown driver and dragged a mile to her death.

Students from Trinity Catholic School and church members from St. Anthony Parish surrounded that memorial Thursday morning to honor 42-year-old Susette Werner’s memory and pray for the killer to come forward. The school and the church are within a block of where the incident began.

The students knew what had happened, said Fr. Joe Hien. The tragedy has been in the news every day.

“It’s good for them to face reality about life and death,” Hien said. About 60 sixth, seventh and eighth graders attended.

Police think Werner was walking to a friend’s home early Sunday morning from a local bar when she was struck by a boxy, dark-colored sport utility vehicle at the corner of Carlisle and Cedar. The car then drove 15 blocks to the corner of Ash Street and Maxwell Avenue, where Werner’s body was found.

No arrest has been made in Werner’s death. “Unfortunately, there’s no new information,” Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said.

Hien’s assistant, Linda Peterson, said she spoke with a man in the neighborhood near her church. He told her his children heard screams the night Werner was hit, and that he dismissed the sound, saying it was probably cats fighting.

“We pray whoever did that to her will have a conversion of heart and … present himself to law enforcement,” Hien said during the memorial.

Hien also was aware of the tragedy through Werner’s parents, Gene and Vicky Littell. Hien’s parish prayed for the Littells on Sunday, he said.

After a prayer, rosaries and sprinkling of holy water on the memorial site, Hien concluded with: “Our sister Susie was suddenly taken from us. May she rest in peace.”

Reach Jody Lawrence-Turner at (509) 459-5593 or jodyl@spokesman.com.

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