An American diplomat’s wife who killed a UK teen motorcyclist in a 2019 wrong-way crash is open to “mediation” with his parents – after a Virginia court ruled against her attempt to have the civil case for wrongful death tossed, according to reports.
Anne Sacoolas, 43, has admitted that she was driving on the wrong side of the road as she left a US airbase in central England in August 2019 when her car was involved in a crash with 19-year-old Harry Dunn’s motorbike.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but the US State Department rejected a request to extradite her to Britain to face trial because of diplomatic immunity.
Dunn’s family filed a civil lawsuit in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, last year. The Sacoolases asked a judge to dismiss the case, arguing it should be heard in the UK instead.
In an order rejecting their request Tuesday, US District Judge T.S. Ellis III said a civil trial in Britain would not be an adequate forum because the family has made it clear they have no intention of returning to the country.
After the judge’s ruling, Sacoolas’ lawyers released a statement saying: “As Anne has said repeatedly, she is devastated by this tragic accident and would do anything she could to bring Harry back.
“She has continuously expressed her deepest condolences to the family, and would very much like to find a path forward and to bring the family a measure of peace and closure,” the statement added, according to Sky News.
Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger responded: “We are very pleased to see the strong indication from Mrs. Sacoolas and her personal attorney this afternoon that they are willing to discuss options with a view to finding a path forward.
“I would urge Mrs. Jeffress and the Crown Prosecution Service to engage with each other as urgently as possible and the parents and I are more than happy to engage in those discussions if appropriate,” Seiger continued.
“We are sure that, once a satisfactory resolution is found, both families will be able to begin the path towards recovery,” Seiger added. “Anne and her personal attorney, Amy Jeffress, remain willing to discuss options, including mediation, to find a path forward towards a resolution.”
In his ruling Ellis said: “While it is commendable that defendant Anne Sacoolas admits that she was negligent and that her negligence caused Harry Dunn’s death, this does not equate acceptance of responsibility.
“Full acceptance of responsibility entails facing those harmed by her negligence and taking responsibility for her acts where they occurred, in the United Kingdom,” he added.
Sacoolas’ lawyer, John McGavin, has said she was “employed by an intelligence agency in the US” at the time of the crash — which was “especially a factor” in her departure from the UK.