Harry Dunn's parents file U.S. lawsuit against diplomat's wife over fatal U.K. crash

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Harry Dunn's parents file U.S. lawsuit against diplomat's wife over fatal U.K. crash

The family of a British teenager who was struck and killed by a car driven by the wife of an American diplomat has filed a civil claim for damages against her in the United States.

Harry Dunn, 19, died on Aug. 27, 2019, after his motorcycle was struck by Anne Sacoolas, an American, near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, which is home to a U.S. Air Force communications station.

The lawsuit claims wrongful death and seeks financial damages against both Sacoolas and her husband, Jonathan Sacoolas, as the Dunn family lawyers say the Volvo SUV was owned by him when it hit Dunn.

Filed in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, the lawsuit states that as Dunn “lay awake, alone, and in pain, knowing that he was badly hurt and dying, facedown by the side of the road,” Sacoolas did not call police to report the accident or call an ambulance.

Harry Dunn’s parents say they want justice for their son. Courtesy of the Dunn Family

Her conduct was “willful or wanton,” it says, adding that she showed a “conscious disregard for the safety of Harry.”

A few minutes later, it says a passerby stopped at the scene. “This passerby, not Defendant Anne Sacoolas, called for an ambulance,” it says.

The force of the collision left “blood and clothing embedded in the front windshield,” the lawsuit says.

Having initially cooperated with the police investigation, Sacoolas, 42, returned to the United States three weeks after the crash and the case sparked a transatlantic dispute between Washington and London about whether she had diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

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The U.S. State Department has said she cannot be extradited because she is covered by diplomatic immunity. The U.K., in July, stopped offering immunity from criminal prosecution to the families of the American staff at the base.

Sacoolas lawyer, Amy Jeffress of Arnold & Porter, said in an Oct. 14 statement, that her client “was driving on the wrong side of the road and is terribly, terribly sorry for that tragic mistake.”

“There is no dispute as to what happened,” the statement said. “Anne was driving on the wrong side of the road and had no time to react when she saw the motorbike approaching — the crash happened too fast.”

British police charged Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving in December. She could face up to five years in jail if found guilty.

Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have called for her to return to the U.K. to face trial.

Sacoolas said she cooperated with authorities at the scene and at her home, and she expressed her “deepest sympathies and apologies for this tragic accident” to Dunn’s parents.

Her lawyer has said previously that Sacoolas will not return voluntarily to potentially face jail for “a terrible but unintentional accident.”

NBC News approached Jeffress for comment about the civil claim on Thursday.

Speaking after it was filed, Dunn family spokesperson Radd Seiger said they had “no choice other to launch their campaign.”

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