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Extradition request for wife of official charged in deadly crash would be "highly inappropriate," State Department says

U.S. official's wife charged in U.K. crash
U.S. official's wife charged in U.K. crash 00:48

A State Department spokesperson said Friday that extraditing Anne Sacoolas, an American official's wife who was charged in December with killing a teenager in a car crash, would be "highly inappropriate." The comment comes just hours after the U.K. Home Office told CBS News that it had requested Sacoolas' extradition. 

U.K. authorities say Sacoolas struck and killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn while driving down the wrong side of the road in the summer, she left the country claiming diplomatic immunity. Her departure sparked a movement in Britain to bring her back to the country to face justice. 

"The United States has been clear that, at the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the U.K., the driver in this case had status that conferred diplomatic immunities. The Foreign Secretary stated the same in Parliament.  It is the position of the United States government that a request to extradite an individual under these circumstances would be an abuse," a State Department spokesperson told CBS News. "The use of an extradition treaty to attempt to return the spouse of a former diplomat by force would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent." 

"The United States has a strong law enforcement relationship with the U.K. and, in particular, a strong track record of close cooperation on extradition matters," the spokesperson added. "However, under the circumstances of this case, we strongly believe that an extradition request would be highly inappropriate." 

Earlier Friday, the U.K. Home Office told CBS News that "Following the Crown Prosecution Service's charging decision, the Home Office has sent an extradition request to the United States for Anne Sacoolas on charges of causing death by dangerous driving," 

"This is now a decision for the U.S. authorities," the spokesperson added.

Authorities became aware in September that Sacoolas had left Britain and returned to the United States. But the family of Harry Dunn wasn't informed until 10 days later. 

Dunn's family traveled to the United States in December to meet with President Trump. They declined to meet with Sacoolas, who was at the White House at the time of their visit, and they continue to fight for her to return to Britain. 

This isn't Sacoolas' first driving-related charge. According to court records, the 42-year-old mother of three was convicted of a driving infraction in Virginia in 2006 for "failing to pay full time and attention" behind the wheel.

"Anne is devastated by this tragic accident and would do anything she could to bring Harry back. She continues to grieve for Harry and his family," Sacoolas' lawyer said in a statement to CBS News on Friday. "The United States has made clear they will deny any extradition request and will uphold the longstanding agreement of diplomatic immunity between our two countries." 

"We remain willing to work with the U.K. authorities to identify a path forward," the statement added.  

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