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U.S. denies British extradition request for diplomat’s wife involved in fatal car crash

In this Oct. 14, 2019 file photo, Charlotte Charles, mother of Harry Dunn, who died after his motorbike was involved in an August 2019 accident in Britain with Anne Sacoolas, wife of an American diplomat, speaks at a news conference joined by family members in New York.
In this Oct. 14, 2019 file photo, Charlotte Charles, mother of Harry Dunn, who died after his motorbike was involved in an August 2019 accident in Britain with Anne Sacoolas, wife of an American diplomat, speaks at a news conference joined by family members in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, file)

The United States has declined Britain’s request for the extradition of a U.S. diplomat’s wife who was involved in a car crash last year that killed a British teenager, the State Department said on Thursday.

British prosecutors have requested the extradition of Anne Sacoolas over the crash last August in which 19-year-old Briton Harry Dunn was killed while riding his motorbike.

READ MORE: Family of U.K. man killed in crash with diplomat’s wife met with Trump: spokesperson

“At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the U.S. citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction,” a State Department representative said in a statement.

“If the United States were to grant the UK’s extradition request, it would render the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent,” the statement said.

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Family of UK teen killed in crash calls on U.S. diplomat’s wife to meet with them
Family of UK teen killed in crash calls on U.S. diplomat’s wife to meet with them

Dunn’s family has said Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash near an air force base in central England used by the U.S. military.

Sacoolas was given diplomatic immunity and left Britain shortly after the accident. Her lawyer has said that she would not return voluntarily to Britain to possibly face jail for “a terrible but unintentional accident.”

READ MORE: Family of young man killed in crash call upon diplomat’s wife to return to U.K.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Sacoolas was wrong to use diplomatic immunity to leave Britain and has urged U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider the U.S. position.

Dunn’s parents met Trump at the White House in October. Trump hoped to persuade them meet to Sacoolas, who was in the building at the same time, but they declined.