In August 2019 British motorcyclist Harry Dunn was killed in a crash near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, England. He was riding his motorcycle at the time a car driven by suspect Anne Sacoolas hit him. Security camera footage from the incident shows that she was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time, a fact she later admitted to police.  

However, UK police weren’t able to conduct a formal interview with Sacoolas following the incident, because she claimed diplomatic immunity as soon as she possibly could. Her husband was stationed at the RAF base, and there’s some murkiness about whether she herself was then or had previously worked for the CIA. While we don’t know the full details of why, it’s a fact that the US embassy helped Sacoolas leave the country, and she has not returned since. UK authorities charged Sacoolas with Dunn’s death, but that’s as far as the pursuit of justice and accountability has gone. 

Understandably, Dunn’s family, friends, and plenty of UK motorcyclists were outraged after details of the crash made headlines. Above all, most people want Sacoolas brought to justice. The British Crown Prosecution Service has sought to extradite Sacoolas to the UK to face a trial, even taking it as far as former US President Trump, but to no avail. However, in June 2021 there’s a new administration in charge in the US. Could this mean that the wheels of justice start to turn in Dunn’s direction? 

Dunn’s family, of course, has hope that will be the case. On Friday June 11 2021 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with US President Joe Biden as part of the G7 summit, where one of the topics of discussion was this very case. Since President Biden lost his first wife and one-year-old daughter in a car crash in 1972, expectations were high that this extradition request might find sympathetic ears. 

So far, there has been no agreement from the US to strip Sacoolas of diplomatic immunity and allow her to be extradited to the UK to stand trial. However, UK legal authorities are now authorised to approach Sacoolas’ lawyers about the possibility of their client standing a virtual trial. The US government has agreed that this is acceptable, a move that at least seems better than the previous total impasse this case was at. 

In 2020, the BBC reported that the Dunn family’s Member of Parliament, Andrea Leadsom, described a possible virtual trial as having Sacoolas go through the English court process, while physically remaining in the US. Should a sentence be handed down, she would also complete that sentence in the US.  

However, what something like this looks like in theory could be much different than how it occurs in practice. In reality, it’s unclear what this virtual trial would look like. In the past, lawyers for Sacoolas said that she was willing to serve some type of community service in her home country. So far, the Crown Prosecution Service is still insisting that Sacoolas must be extradited, but that could change. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any new developments as Dunn’s family seeks justice.