US Official's Wife 'Wanted Internationally' In Deadly UK Car Crash

Wednesday, May 13th 2020, 11:55 am
By: CBS News

The U.S. State Department has flatly rejected a request for the extradition of the wife of an American official over the killing of a 19-year-old British man in a traffic accident, despite an apparent Interpol "red notice" calling for her arrest.

A State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that the decision was "final."

A day earlier, police in the English county of Northamptonshire sent an email to Harry Dunn's family informing them that Anne Sacoolas was "wanted internationally" in connection with the accident that left Dunn dead. A representative for the family replied to the police to thank them and said he would pass on the information "about the Interpol red notice."

Interpol has declined to confirm directly that a red notice was issued for Sacoolas, but CBS News has seen the email exchange between Dunn's family and the U.K. police discussing the measure. The international policing alliance defines a red notice as, "a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action."

Such requests are typically made by an individual member country. Both the U.S. and U.K. are Interpol members.

Red notices are not, however, international arrest warrants, and Interpol cannot compel police in any country to arrest someone who is the subject of one. However, if Sacoolas does leave the U.S. now and sets foot in another Interpol member nation, should could be subject to arrest.

U.K. prosecutors have charged Sacoolas, 42, with causing death by dangerous driving. Her car was in a head-on collision with Dunn's motorcycle outside a U.S. military base in Northamptonshire, in central England, last year.

It's alleged that Sacoolas had been driving on the wrong side of the road before the crash.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo already rejected a direct extradition request from the British government in January. The U.K. has criticized the Trump administration for refusing to extradite Sacoolas, calling it a "denial of justice."

"The last nine months, for us, have been hell on Earth," Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles told CBS News, reacting to the latest developments. "Every day is painful. Waking up and realizing you've got to live another day without Harry."

"We've had some positive news; a red Interpol notice has been served on Anne Sacoolas, which proves to myself and the rest of Harry's family… that we were right all along," Charles said, adding that as far as her family is concerned the development proves the American woman, "is not and was not covered under diplomatic immunity."

On April 30, a spokeswoman for the State Department reiterated its position that at the time of the accident, and for the duration of her time in the U.K., the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.

Sacoolas' husband Jonathan Sacoolas is widely reported to have been working as a U.S. intelligence operative at the military base in Northamptonshire near the crash site, and some reports have suggested that she, too, was working in that capacity.

President Donald Trump attempted to quell outrage in the U.K. over Sacoolas' quick move back to the U.S. after the accident, which she made by claiming diplomatic immunity, in October last year. Mr. Trump invited Dunn's parents to the White House and tried unsuccessfully to persuade the grieving couple to meet with Sacoolas. The couple left, saying they felt "ambushed" as they'd been given no prior notice that Sacoolas was even going to be in the building.

Dunn's family have also been critical of the U.K. government's handling of the case. They have called for both a judicial and parliamentary review, and accused Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb of a "cover up."