The wife of an American diplomat who left Great Britain after being involved in a fatal road accident that killed a British teenager has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving. Statements from British prosecutors on Friday. According to TIME, the decision to charge Anne Sacoolas, who has claimed diplomatic immunity, caused a rift between the United Kingdom and the United States. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the move, but the State Department thought it was not helpful. British authorities say the19-year-old motorcycle rider Harry Dunn was killed in August when he was hit by a car driven by Sacoolas. Her husband was an intelligence officer at a military base in central England used by U.S. forces. Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and left Great Britain after the crash.
Dunn’s family has advocated her to return and face British justice, and even met U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington as part of their campaign. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said it had authorized the police to charge Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving “following a thorough review of the evidence available.” Prosecutors said begun extradition proceedings. It is up to the government whether to formally ask for Sacoolas to be sent back to Great Britain.
According to the New York Post, Sacoolas’ attorney, Amy Jeffress, stated on Friday that the diplomat’s wife remains “devastated” by the “tragic accident” that killed Dunn but doesn’t plan to willingly return to the UK to face prosecution. “Anne would do whatever she could to bring Harry back. She is a mother herself and cannot imagine the pain of the loss of a child. She has cooperated fully with the investigation and accepted responsibility.” said the statement. If convicted, Sacoolas faces up to 14 years in prison , which is “simply not a proportionate response” to the incident, Jeffress said. “We have been in contact with the UK authorities about ways in which Anne could assist with preventing accidents like this from happening in the future, as well as her desire to honor Harry’s memory. But Anne will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident.” the statement concluded.
Sacoolas had only been in the UK for three weeks at the time of the deadly crash. British police interviewed Sacoolas in October about the crash involving her Volvo and Dunn’s motorcycle on Aug. 27. Those details were later submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service. The Trump administration refused to extradite her to face charges in Britain. Dunn’s parents planned to sue Sacoolas and the Trump administration over “lawless misconduct” in handling the incident. The couple also refused to meet Sacoolas during their visit to the White House in October. Earlier this week, Sacoolas was publicly spotted in the US for the first time since the incident. She repeatedly declined to answer questions when approached by a news crew. It is not clear where Sacoolas was filmed.