The parents of a British man are suing the wife of a U.S. State Department employee who hit and killed him with her car last summer. The husband, allegedly a spy, is also on the hook in the recently filed complaint.
Harry Dunn was killed in August 2019 by Anne Sacoolas–who was driving on the wrong side of the road. After killing the 19-year-old, the American initially said that she would work with local police but quickly backtracked on that pledge.
Weeks later, she left the United Kingdom without alerting authorities and subsequently refused to return to face or cooperate with the British justice system–instead claiming diplomatic immunity from prosecution because she is married to Jonathan Sacoolas, an American who worked at the Royal Air Force base in Croughton, England.
“When paramedics arrived, Dunn was conscious and able to speak with them,” a press release from the family’s legal team said. “He was able to tell them that Sacoolas had been driving on the wrong side of the road and that she hit him with her SUV. Tragically, Dunn died shortly after arriving at the hospital as a result of the catastrophic injuries he suffered in the accident.”
Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, along with his twin brother Niall Dunn, filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia alleging negligence, breach of duty, wrongful death (under both the common law and U.K statutes) and intentional infliction of emotional distress against both Sacoolas and her husband–who owns the car in question.
“Despite having lived and driven in the United Kingdom for several weeks and driving a British model SUV with the steering wheel on the right side, Defendant Anne Sacoolas drove on the wrong side of the road,” the lawsuit said. “While she was driving on the wrong side of the road, Defendant Anne Sacoolas hit Harry head on. He was catapulted off his motorcycle and into the front of her SUV, leaving blood and clothing embedded in the front windshield, and landed to the side of the SUV.”
The filing went on to describe Dunn’s injuries:
As a result of the impact with Defendant Anne Sacoolas’ vehicle, Harry had multiple open fractures, painful degloving injuries, and internal injuries. Both his upper and lower arm was broken on the left side, and he had an open and degloved fracture of his right arm. Both of Harry’s legs suffered open fractures. His left leg sustained open fractures in both the upper and lower leg. And he also suffered extensive pelvic and abdominal injuries.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleged, Sacoolas “had a cellphone with her” when she collided with Dunn but “did not call the police to report the accident” even after seeing the 19-year-old “conscious, severely injured, and in pain.”
“Sacoolas’ conduct in failing to report the accident or seek medical assistance for Harry was willful or wanton, or so recklessness as to evince a conscious disregard for the safety of Harry,” the ten-complaint lawsuit alleges.
“Given Ms. Sacoolas’ refusal to return to the U.K., we look forward to bringing this case to a jury of Anne Sacoolas’ peers here in the United States,” said Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll partner Agnieszka Fryszman, the family’s lead attorney, in the press release. “Seeing Harry’s lovely parents and twin brother suffer so much heartbreak makes our push for justice for Harry even more important.”
The civil action launches after legal efforts to bring Sacoolas to justice for Dunn’s death failed.
Sacoolas was charged with Dunn’s death by dangerous driving by the British Crown Prosecution Service. The American woman, however, has refused to set foot on British soil since she fled following the incident. An extradition request by the U.K. government was subsequently denied by the U.S. Department of State, which claimed their adjudication over the request was final.
President Donald Trump later made a haphazard attempt to intervene by seeking audience with the grieving family. They agreed and were then “shocked” to learn that the extent of his efforts was to bring them into direct contact with Sacoolas–who was secretly waiting in the next room over.
According to the family’s attorneys, they refused the offer because there was neither “proper legal representation” nor “mental health professionals” present for the scuppered would-be meeting.
“Fighting for justice for Harry has been and will remain our number one priority because of a promise we made to him the night we lost him,” Dunn’s mother Charles said. “What’s unfathomable is that our son has been gone for almost a year without us learning the truth and without Anne Sacoolas facing the consequences in a court of law. We have simple asks — we want the truth and justice for our beloved Harry.”
Read the full filing below:
[image via Peter Summers/Getty Images]
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