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A US Diplomat's Wife Has Been Charged Over A Car Crash That Killed A British Teen

It comes after President Trump tried to surprise the family of Harry Dunn with a meeting with the American woman in the White House.

Last updated on December 20, 2019, at 1:13 p.m. ET

Posted on December 20, 2019, at 11:42 a.m. ET

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles poses in front of a banner outside the Buckingham Palace.

The wife of a US diplomat who fled the UK after her involvement in a car crash that killed a teenage boy has been charged "with causing death by dangerous driving," authorities said Friday.

The Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) said in a statement that police in Northamptonshire, the English county where the incident took place, have been authorized to charge Anne Sacoolas, 42.

Extradition proceedings are underway, according to CPS, but Sacoolas's attorney, Amy Jeffress, told BuzzFeed News she "will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible and unintentional accident."

The US State Department said on Friday the decision to charge Sacoolas was not a "helpful development."

"We are disappointed by today's announcement and fear that it will not bring a resolution closer," the statement read. "The United States has been clear that, at the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the driver in this case had status that conferred diplomatic immunities."

Facebook / Via Facebook: Justice4Harry19

In August, Sacoolas drove onto the wrong side of the road while leaving the RAF Croughton US Air Force base in Northamptonshire and crashed into 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who was riding a motorcycle. Dunn later died in the hospital from his injuries, Sky News reported.

Police announced in early October that although Sacoolas initially agreed to cooperate with their investigation, she later claimed diplomatic immunity and fled the UK.

Dunn's parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have been vocal about seeking justice for their son's death. The pair traveled to the US in mid-October to meet with President Donald Trump and urge him to waive Sacoolas's diplomatic immunity.

But the meeting didn't go as they planned.

In a widely criticized move, the president sprung a sudden potential meeting with Sacoolas on the couple.

Radd Seiger, a Dunn family spokesperson, told reporters that the couple did not know Trump had arranged for them to meet Sacoolas in person; she was waiting in the other room while they spoke with Trump at the White House.

"We've said all along that we are willing to meet her, we're still willing to meet her. But it needs to be on UK soil. With therapists and mediators, and not just for us — for her as well," Charles later told CBS in an interview. "To be thrown into a room together with no prior warning, that's not good for her mental health, it's certainly not good for ours."

Facebook / Via Facebook: Justice4Harry19

Dunn's parents learned of the charge against Sacoolas on Friday, according to Sky News.

"I carried out my promise to one of my kids, the promise that I made that we would get that justice," Charles said. "I've managed to fulfill the promise. It means everything."

Seiger told BuzzFeed News that the State Department's response to the charge against Sacoolas "overlooks the fact that this matter will be dealt with under the rule of law and ultimately decided by an independent judge based on the contents of the extradition treaty between the two countries."

"I am used to by now taking what the Trump administration says with a pinch of salt, as we all should," he said. "The Justice4Harry campaign will not stop until Anne Sacoolas is back in the UK facing the justice system, like anyone else would have to."

Seiger said Sacoolas's refusal to voluntarily return to the UK is "a matter between her and the UK authorities who obviously disagree with her."

For now, Dunn's parents are relieved at the development, he said.

"They now leave the case in the hands of the authorities and hope to begin the process of rebuilding their shattered lives," Seiger added.

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