Family of British Teen Reaches Settlement With U.S. Diplomat After Fatal Car Accident
LONDON — The family of a 19-year-old British motorcyclist has reached a resolution with the U.S. State Department employee who fatally struck him …
LONDON — The family of a 19-year-old British motorcyclist has reached a resolution with the U.S. State Department employee who fatally struck him with her car two years ago, the latest development in a case that touched off diplomatic tensions between Britain and the United States.
A spokesman for the family of the teenager, Harry Dunn, said the two parties had reached an agreement in a lawsuit filed by the family.
“It’s a milestone for us that we’ve achieved a resolution in the civil case,” the spokesman, Radd Seiger, said. “We can now look forward and focus on the criminal case, which we are very confident is coming soon.” He declined to disclose any details of the settlement.
Anne Sacoolas, the American State Department employee, had been driving on the wrong side of the road in August 2019 near the village of Croughton, in central England, when she hit Mr. Dunn, who died at a hospital shortly after the accident.
Weeks later, Ms. Sacoolas, whose husband was working for the U.S. government at a British military base at the time, fled Britain under diplomatic immunity. British prosecutors charged Ms. Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving, but the United States government rejected an extradition request for her. The decision, which the British government called a “denial of justice,” led to outrage in Britain.
The settlement between Mr. Dunn’s family and Ms. Sacoolas is unlikely to end the yearslong tension between Washington and London over whether she should be required to return to Britain to face charges. In a phone call with Mr. Dunn’s mother and Mr. Seiger on Tuesday, Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, said that the settlement was not the end of her office’s efforts to extradite Ms. Sacoolas to Britain.
“She made it clear that the government’s position is that justice must be done,” Mr. Seiger said.
In the years since the accident, Mr. Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have campaigned for Ms. Sacoolas to be prosecuted in Britain. In October 2019, they traveled to the White House for a meeting with President Donald J. Trump, who surprised them by revealing that Ms. Sacoolas was in an adjoining room. Mr. Dunn’s parents declined to meet with her. They later brought a civil claim against her in Virginia.
Under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, members of diplomatic staff and their families posted in a foreign country are entitled to immunity. Last year, Britain and the United States ultimately agreed to make it harder for diplomats to claim immunity for crimes they committed outside of their duties. The changes, however, apply to future cases and not that of Ms. Sacoolas.