United Kingdom Wants U.S. Diplomat's Wife to Return After Fatal Crash

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

October 7, 2019

British officials are calling for the wife of a U.S. diplomat who left the United Kingdom following an accident that left a British teenager dead in a wrong-way collision, to return to the country and face the consequences for the Aug. 27 wreck.

Harry Dunn, 19, was riding his motorcycle on Aug. 27 when he collided with a Volvo driving the wrong direction in Coughton, a small city in central England. It was revealed on Saturday (Oct. 5) that the driver of the Volvo was the wife of a U.S. diplomat, who had claimed diplomatic immunity, fleeing the country before police could interview her concerning the accident.

In an interview with the BBC, British Prime Minister said he hoped the diplomat's wife, who has been identified by Sky News as Anne Sacoolas, would return to the United Kingdom and would raise the issue with the U.S. Ambassador on Monday.

“If we can’t resolve it, then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House,” Johnson added.

Dunn's parents made a personal appeal to President Donald Trump in an interview with Sky News on Saturday.

"President Trump, please listen," Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said. "We’re a family in ruin. We’re broken. We can’t grieve. Please, please, let her get back on a plane, come back to the U.K. . . . We could understand how she’s feeling, but more importantly, she needs to face justice, see what she’s done."

Diplomatic immunity is afforded to diplomats and their families living abroad, allowing them to avoid prosecution by local authorities for virtually any crime that may be committed in the foreign country (it's a bit more complicated than what the plot of Lethal Weapon II would have you believe). However, 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations allows for home countries to waive a diplomat's immunity in special circumstances, which is what British authorities are requesting the State Department do for Dunn's fatal accident.

The wife of the U.S. diplomat was legally allowed to claim diplomatic immunity, but Nick Adderly, the chief constable for Northamptonshire Police where the accident took place, said Sunday they have asked the U.S. Embassy to waive the woman's immunity.

"Both @Stephen_Mold and I have written, in the strongest terms, to the US Embassy urging them to apply the diplomatic immunity waiver in order to allow the justice process to take place," Adderley wrote in response to being asked if the woman was legally entitled to diplomatic immunity.

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