An American woman whose SUV fatally struck a British teen on his motorcycle in early October 2019 will finally face justice in England—at least virtually. Anne Sacoolas, 45, fled the United Kingdom after driving her SUV on the wrong side of a British two-lane highway, killing 18-year-old Harry Dunn, who was on his motorcycle.
Sacoolas, who is the wife of an American diplomat, had her 12-year-old son in the car at the time and had just left the Royal Air Force base in Croughton where her husband was stationed. Sacoolas was also a former employee of the US military and several reports have suggested both Sacoolas and her husband were involved in intelligence work.
A recent book by former prosecutor Geoffrey Berman revealed that the Sacoolas case became intertwined with the US request to interview Prince Andrew over his involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein investigation. He wrote that William Barr told him that his request to interview the prince became a “sort of a chit in a dispute with the British involving a US diplomat’s wife who had accidentally killed a 19-year-old British motorcyclist in an auto accident.” Berman said that the incident proved problematic. “Barr told me that the public rift over Prince Andrew’s refusal to sit for an interview was useful in this other case,” he wrote. “It inflicted PR damage, was my impression, and made it more palatable for the administration to hold firm.”
Immediately after the accident, Sacoolas stayed on the scene until first responders arrived. She was not tested for alcohol consumption or taken into custody and returned instead to the air force base. She was whisked away to the US after being interviewed by police at the base, which drew scorn in the UK, especially with Dunn’s family who called for her return to face justice in the UK
In mid-October 2019, Dunn’s parents visited the White House, invited by then president Donald Trump, who had Sacoolas hidden behind a door and who had planned to ambush the grieving parents so she could apologize. Dunn’s parents refused to meet her and left the White House.
For the last three years, British prosecutors have worked unsuccessfully with the US government and Sacoolas’ lawyers to try to find an agreement to turn the charges of “causing death by reckless driving” to hit and run. A hearing scheduled for January 2022 was suddenly postponed when the negotiators nearly made a deal, but the Dunn family reportedly refused to accept anything but the full charges of causing death. The UK does not have the same style vehicular homicide charge that a similar incident would garner in the US
On Monday, the Crown Prosecution Service said the hearing would begin Thursday in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. Both the court and Sacoolas’ lawyers in the US confirmed to The Daily Beast that the American will appear by video link from the US “A hearing has been scheduled for 29 September at Westminster Magistrates’ Court,” a statement from the court provided to The Daily Beast reads. “We remind everyone that Mrs. Sacoolas has a right to a fair trial and there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice any proceedings.”