The little ribbons on the lapels of Harry Dunn’s parents as they spoke to reporters in New York City Monday morning were Kawasaki green because that’s the color of the motorbike their 19-year-old son was driving when he was killed.
Dunn died on Aug. 27 when Anne Sacoolas, a 42-year-old American living at the Royal Air Force spy base in Croughton, England, hit him with her Volvo SUV while she was driving on the wrong side of the road.
Sacoolas, whose husband is an intelligence officer stationed at the important listening base, invoked diplomatic immunity in the days after the accident. She was flown to the United States by private jet under apparent guidance by the U.S. Embassy in London.
Now, the Dunn family are in New York to try to put pressure on the American government and hopefully even speak to President Donald Trump to urge him to send Sacoolas back to the U.K. to face justice.
“I just want to talk to him man to man, father to father,” Tim Dunn told reporters Monday morning. “As a man, as a father... how could he let this happen?”
Dunn was able to see his son in the moments after the crash. The 19-year-old’s motorcycle had burst into flames on impact with Sacoolas’ Volvo SUV, and a friend who worked at the fire department called and told him his son might have been involved in the accident. Dunn told CBS News Monday morning what it was like, and how he could see the broken bones protruding from his son’s arms. Dunn says his son kept telling him it was harder and harder to breathe as they put him into the ambulance. That was the last time he saw his son alive.
Amy Jeffress, the Washington, D.C.-based lawyer representing Sacoolas, issued a statement over the weekend, but she has not yet met with anyone from the Dunn family in person. “Anne is devastated by this tragic accident,” the statement says. “No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family.”
The statement goes on to say that the media reporting of the events have been “inaccurate in many respects.” Jeffress says her client “fully cooperated with the police and the investigation” and that she spoke with authorities at the scene of the accident and met with police at her home the following day.
“Anne would like to meet with Mr. Dunn’s parents so that she can express her deepest sympathies and apologies for this tragic accident,” the statement says. “We have been in contact with the family’s attorneys and look forward to hearing from them.”
At the Monday press conference, the Dunns said they would like to meet with Sacoolas, too, but only under the condition that she return to the U.K. “We’re not inhumane,” Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said. “We still don’t wish her any ill harm, but we need to hear it from her, in her own words, on our terms, in the U.K.”
Dunn’s father would also like to know if Sacoolas tried to comfort his son after the crash. “I’ve always wanted to ask if she could explain the moment of the crash, and find out if she comforted Harry, if she spoke to Harry,” he said. “I just can’t imagine my lad being in the ditch and not having anyone comfort him.”
Shortly after the accident, the Dunns said they told police they wanted to reduce any sentence Sacoolas might be handed for the death of their son. “We had wanted to reduce her sentence knowing that she had children,” Dunn’s mother told reporters through tears. “We had asked for it to be suspended so we wouldn’t take her away from her children.”
But because Sacoolas fled, she may indeed face prison time if she goes back to the U.K. The British Foreign Office suggested over the weekend that Sacoolas never had diplomatic immunity in the first place and, even if she did, it would be waived now that she is no longer living outside of the U.S. The Dunns have hired a team of lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic who specialize in international law and immunity and the investigation is still underway in Croughton.
“It’s simple enough,” Dunn’s father said. “On that night, a lady made a mistake. She killed our son. She didn't mean to cause the accident. But then they made a mistake. The people on the other side of this dispute need to understand one thing: We will get justice for Harry.”