Anne Sacoolas was charged with death by dangerous driving on Friday. In a statement from her lawyer, Sacoolas said she would “not return voluntarily” and called the death a “terrible but unintentional accident.”
The move to charge Sacoolas prompted a stern response from the US State Department, which said it was “disappointed” with the decision.
“We are disappointed by today’s announcement and fear that it will not bring a resolution closer,” a spokesperson said, adding that Sacoolas “had status that conferred diplomatic immunities” during the time of the accident and for the duration of her stay in Britain.
Harry Dunn, 19, died after Sacoolas’s car collided with his motorbike near the RAF Croughton air force base in Northamptonshire, which is used by the US military. Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time. She left the UK days later claiming diplomatic immunity.
Prosecutors are now seeking Sacoolas’s extradition, but it is up to the British Home Office to make a decision on whether her extradition will be formally requested through diplomatic channels.
The maximum jail sentence for death by dangerous driving is 14 years in Britain, but it is unlikely that an extradition request would succeed, given the position of the Trump administration.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the decision to charge Sacoolas was welcome and that he hoped it prompted her to realize that the “right thing to do is to come back to the UK and cooperate with the criminal justice process.”
Raab announced in October that rules on diplomatic immunity were under “review” in light of Dunn’s death.
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