US diplomat’s wife was driving on the wrong side of the road before her fatal UK crash, police say
(CNN) — An American diplomat’s wife, who left the United Kingdom after becoming a suspect in a fatal traffic collision, was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash, according to the police.
Harry Dunn, 19, died in the accident while riding his motorbike, according to a statement from his family. The accident took place August 27 in Northamptonshire in central England, which is home to a Royal Air Force station controlled by the US Air Force.
According to a Northamptonshire Police statement after the crash, a car “collided head on with a black Kawasaki motorcycle traveling in the opposite direction.” On Sunday, they confirmed “the car was being driven on the wrong side of the road.”
The UK has urged the return of the unnamed American diplomat’s wife, 42, who left the country after the crash.
The case sparked an outcry among British lawmakers and the victim’s family after local media reported the police’s request for the suspect’s diplomatic immunity to be waived was rejected.
Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, diplomats and their family members are typically immune from prosecution in their host country.
“Immunity is rarely waived,” the US State Department told CNN in a statement. It also expressed its “deepest sympathies and offer condolences to the family of the deceased in the tragic August 27 traffic accident involving a vehicle driven by the spouse of a U.S. diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom.”
“Any questions regarding a waiver of immunity with regard to our diplomats and their family members overseas in a case like this receive intense attention at senior levels and are considered carefully given the global impact such decisions carry,” it added.
‘An attempt to evade justice’
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab expressed his disappointment to the US Ambassador the UK, Woody Johnson, and urged the embassy to reconsider its decision, according to a statement issued Friday.
The Dunn family plans to meet Raab next week, family spokesperson Radd Seiger told CNN. In a statement posted on Facebook, the victim’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said the diplomat’s wife “must return to the UK to face justice.”
“With the terrible news that the other driver has left the country, seemingly in an attempt to evade justice, we are totally deprived of the ability to grieve and our lives are now painfully on hold,” she wrote.
CNN has contacted the US Embassy in London for comment but could not immediately reach officials.
Northamptonshire Police Superintendent Sarah Johnson said in a statement Saturday that Dunn’s family “deserve justice and in order to achieve this, a full and thorough investigation, with the assistance of all parties involved, needs to take place.”