A US Diplomat's Wife Has Been Charged Over A Car Crash That Killed A British Teen

Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles poses in front of a banner outside the Buckingham Palace.

The wife of a US diplomat who fled the UK after her involvement in a car crash that killed a teenage boy has been charged “with causing death by dangerous driving,” authorities said Friday.

The Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) said in a statement that police in Northamptonshire, the English county where the incident took place, have been authorized to charge Anne Sacoolas, 42. Extradition proceedings are underway, according to CPS, although it’s not clear if Sacoolas will voluntarily return to Britain.

The US State Department said on Friday the decision to charge Sacoolas was not a “helpful development.”

“We are disappointed by today’s announcement and fear that it will not bring a resolution closer,” the statement read. “The United States has been clear that, at the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the driver in this case had status that conferred diplomatic immunities.”

In August, Sacoolas drove onto the wrong side of the road while leaving the RAF Croughton US Air Force base in Northamptonshire, and crashed into 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who was riding a motorcycle. Dunn later died in the hospital from his injuries, Sky News reported.

Police announced in early October that although Sacoolas initially agreed to cooperate with their investigation, she later claimed diplomatic immunity and fled the UK.

Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have been vocal about seeking justice for their son’s death. The pair traveled to the US in mid-October to meet with President Trump and urge him to waive Sacoolas’s diplomatic immunity.

But the meeting didn’t go as they planned.

In a widely-criticized move, the president sprung a sudden potential meeting with Sacoolas on the couple.

Radd Seiger, a Dunn family spokesperson, told reporters that the couple did not know Trump had arranged for them to meet Sacoolas in-person; she was waiting in the other room while they spoke with Trump at the White House.

“We’ve said all along that we are willing to meet her, we’re still willing to meet her. But it needs to be on UK soil. With therapists and mediators, and not just for us — for her as well,” Charles later told CBS in an interview. “To be thrown into a room together with no prior warning, that’s not good for her mental health, it’s certainly not good for ours.”

Dunn’s parents learned of the charge against Sacoolas on Friday, according to Sky News.

“I carried out my promise to one of my kids, the promise that I made that we would get that justice,” Charles said. “I’ve managed to fulfill the promise. It means everything. I would never have been able to rest properly ever without having been able to carry out that promise I made.”

More on this

  • A US Diplomat’s Wife Who Was Involved In A Deadly Car Crash In The UK Has Fled The CountryRyan C. Brooks · Oct. 5, 2019
  • Trump Surprised Grieving Parents At The White House With Their Son’s Suspected KillerJulia Reinstein · Oct. 16, 2019
  • Clarissa-Jan Lim is a reporter and editor at BuzzFeed News. She is based in New York.

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