The suspect in the death of teenager Harry Dunn has said she would be willing to complete community service in the US, make a “contribution” in his memory and meet his family, her lawyer has said.
Anne Sacoolas has “never denied” responsibility for the road collision that killed the 19-year-old motorcyclist in August 2019, lawyer Amy Jeffress said.
But Jeffress said since the charge pending in Britain against Sacoolas would not usually result in a prison sentence in the US, her client was not inclined to return to the UK to face trial.
The US government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of 43-year-old Sacoolas following the road crash which killed Dunn outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department in January last year.
Jeffress said she and Sacoolas were striving to resolve the case in a manner that would not involve a return to the UK.
“We understand that community service is a typical sentence for offences like this,” Jeffress told BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action programme.
“We have offered ever since over a year ago that she would be willing to serve that kind of a sentence and to make a contribution in Harry’s memory, to take other steps to try to bring some peace to the family.”
She said Sacoolas was “truly sorry for Harry’s family and the pain that his has caused”.
“She’s willing to meet with the family to provide whatever information they are seeking; and we truly hope that we can do that and give the family some measure of peace,” Jeffress told the programme.
Jeffress added that Sacoolas had only been in the UK for “a few weeks” when she had made the tragic mistake of “instinctively” driving her car on the wrong side of the road and colliding with Dunn’s motorcycle.
But she added such cases in the US were only prosecuted criminally if there was “evidence of recklessness that rises to the level of close to intent – drunk driving, distracted driving, a hit-and-run situation or excessive speeding… But there was none of that here”.
Jeffress told the BBC she understood this was one of the reasons the US did not waive Sacoolas’s diplomatic immunity.
She also denied reports Sacoolas had not called for help after the crash, saying she had flagged down another motorist who had called an ambulance while Sacoolas notified police at Croughton, where she worked with her husband for the US State Department.
Sacoolas had cooperated with local police, Jeffress said, supplied a zero-reading breathalyser test, surrendered her phone to show she had not been using it, and was interviewed by police for several hours.
Jeffress’s comments come a week after Dunn’s family was given the go-ahead to proceed with a civil claim for damages against Sacoolas and her husband.
A judge’s ruling in Virginia has taken the Dunn family a step closer to a legal showdown with suspect Anne Sacoolas, 18 months on from Dunn’s death.
Should there be no settlement in the case, the next legal step would be a “deposition”, in which Sacoolas and her husband would be forced to provide their account of events outside of court.