A federal judge in Virginia ruled Tuesday that the family of slain British teenager Harry Dunn will be allowed to proceed with their civil lawsuit in the United States seeking damages against Ann Sacoolas, according to reports.
Dunn was 19 years old and riding his motorbike near the village of Croughton in central England when Sacoolas, the wife of an accredited American diplomat, reportedly struck him head on while driving a vehicle on the wrong side of the road on Aug. 27, 2019. Dunn later died at the hospital.
Sacoolas and her husband left the United Kingdom three weeks later and the State Department claimed diplomatic immunity on her behalf, the New York Times reported. She was later charged in the U.K. with causing Dunn’s death by dangerous driving, but the State Department denied a request to extradite her to stand trial in the criminal case.
Senior U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, on Tuesday denied a request by Sacoolas to have a civil case filed by Dunn’s parents in the U.S. last year thrown out, arguing that it would not be "more convenient" to hold civil proceedings in the U.K.
"While defendants here argue that the case should be dismissed so that the case may be brought in the ‘more convenient’ forum of the United Kingdom, at the same time Defendant Anne Sacoolas has declared that she will not return to the United Kingdom to face criminal prosecution," the judge wrote in his order, according to the Times.
According to a statement released by her personal attorney Wednesday, Sacoolas ran from her vehicle after the collision, flagged down another motorist, and both called for emergency assistance and alerted police at RAF Croughton, a nearby Royal Air Force based used as a communications station by the U.S. military. She did not leave the scene until police told her she could do so, according to the statement, but the ambulance still took over 40 minutes to arrive.
The ruling by Ellis in Virginia was issued in the civil case brought by Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, seeking monetary damages and "has no impact of bearing on Sacoolas’ diplomatic immunity," her personal attorney, Amy Jeffress, wrote in a statement provided to Sky News.