US officials 'looking into' claims of another staff member crash near RAF Croughton

23 April 2020, 14:58 | Updated: 23 April 2020, 14:59

Harry Dunn was 19 when he was killed near RAF Croughton last year
Harry Dunn was 19 when he was killed near RAF Croughton last year. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Officials at the US military base near the site where teenager Harry Dunn was hit and killed have said they are "looking into" claims another staff member drove on the wrong side of the road before smashing into a stone wall.

Pictures surfaced on Wednesday evening of a black BMW which had crashed off the road in the village of Aynho, Northamptonshire.

It was just a couple of miles from RAF Croughton, where teenager Harry was killed while on his motorcycle last August.

Suspect Anne Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to the US.

An extradition request for Mrs Sacoolas was rejected by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in January after she was charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

Although police said the driver in the latest incident was not on diplomatic plates and was not being driven by someone with diplomatic immunity, it is not known whether they were based at RAF Croughton.

A spokeswoman for the base said: "While Northamptonshire Police has the lead, the 501st Combat Support Wing and RAF Croughton are cooperating fully on the investigation of yesterday's vehicle incident in Aynho.

"We will continue to partner with Northamptonshire Police and apply corrective measures as needed.

"The 501st Combat Support Wing remains committed to the safety of US and UK personnel, both on our bases and in the surrounding communities."

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom (left), Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles (centre), his stepfather Bruce Charles (second right) and family spokesperson Radd Seiger (right)
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom (left), Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles (centre), his stepfather Bruce Charles (second right) and family spokesperson Radd Seiger (right). Picture: PA

The Dunn family's local MP, Andrea Leadsom, is due to speak with police on Thursday about the latest incident.

It is understood the former business secretary is attempting to arrange a virtual meeting between the Dunn family and the base commander at RAF Croughton, Colonel Bridget McNamara.

Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger said the Government was "failing in their duty to... safeguard our lives" and described the US administration as a "disgrace".

He said: "What is it going to take before something is done?

"The loss of Harry Dunn was not enough. The near misses since his death have not been enough. Will this disastrous crash tonight make any difference?

"The UK Government are failing in their duty to protect and safeguard our lives.

"I have made it clear to them that enough is enough and they must do whatever it takes, this being British soil, to make sure that the Americans drive in accordance with our laws when they come off the base.

"As for the American government, they are a disgrace. They have failed to engage with us at all to discuss how they are going to improve safety for their benefit as well as ours.

"They have their heads buried in the sand. Well, we will not stand for this any longer and I will be making representations in the strongest possible terms.

"If, as seems inevitable, there is further bloodshed, it will be on theirs and the UK Government's hands."

Following Mr Dunn's death, the chief constable of Northamptonshire Police, Nick Adderley, said he would fund driver training at RAF Croughton in an attempt to prevent similar incidents.

In January, Mr Adderley announced there had been two further incidents of American staff driving on the wrong side of the road after Mr Dunn's death.

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman, said: “We were called at 7.45pm last night to reports of a road traffic collision in Aynho involving a BMW 5 Series colliding with a fence.

“We deployed to the scene and are investigating the incident in line with our usual road traffic collision procedures. Thankfully no one was injured as a result of the collision.”

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