Family of British Teen Killed in Crash Sues Wife of US Diplomat

British prosecutors have charged the diplomat’s wife with causing death by dangerous driving, but the Trump administration rejected a request to extradite her.

The family of Harry Dunn – from left, mother Charlotte Charles, stepfather Bruce Charles, family spokesman Radd Seiger, father Tim Dunn and stepmother Tracey Dunn -speak to reporters outside the Ministry of Justice in London last December. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

(CN) — The parents of Harry Dunn, a 19-year-old British man who was killed in a car collision with the wife of an American intelligence officer, sued the couple Wednesday for wrongful death.

The lawsuit, filed in Alexandra, Virginia, federal court by Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says Anne Sacoolas should be held liable for allegedly causing the deadly August 2019 crash by driving in the wrong direction down an English road. 

Sacoolas reportedly struck Dunn’s motorcycle head-on, causing catastrophic injuries that led to his death. Her husband Jonathan, who was working for the U.S. government and had diplomatic status in Britain at the time, is also named as a defendant in the 19-page complaint.  

“Despite having lived and driven in the United Kingdom for several weeks and driving a British model SUV with the steering wheel on the right side, defendant Anne Sacoolas drove on the wrong side of the road,” the complaint states. “While she was driving on the wrong side of the road, defendant Anne Sacoolas hit Harry head on. He was catapulted off his motorcycle and into the front of her SUV, leaving blood and clothing embedded in the front windshield, and landed to the side of the SUV.”

After the collision, Sacoolas allegedly did not call an ambulance for Dunn or report the crash to police.

“Instead, she left Harry to suffer as he lay face down on the side of the road, afraid of dying, fully conscious with multiple broken bones, including open fractures on both legs and both arms, and internal injuries,” the lawsuit states.  

Sacoolas’ husband owned the SUV involved in the incident, according to the complaint filed by Dunn family attorney Steven Toll with the New York City firm Cohen Milstein.  

Sparking tension between the American and British governments, Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity immediately following the crash and left the U.K. to return home to Virginia. 

“Defendant Anne Sacoolas promised to cooperate with the British police in the investigation of the accident. But rather than stay in the United Kingdom, where she and her husband were living and working, defendant Anne Sacoolas fled to the United States,” the complaint states, adding Dunn’s family was forced to sue Sacoolas in U.S. federal court because she refused to face British law enforcement.

Attorneys for Sacoolas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Last December, the British Crown Prosecution Service charged Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving, but the following month the Trump administration rejected Britain’s request to extradite her.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision “a denial of justice.” In July, Raab announced the closing of the legal loophole that had allowed Sacoolas to claim diplomatic immunity as the spouse of a U.S. agent working at Royal Air Force Base in Croughton, which is currently used as a U.S. Air Force communications station.

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