Pattern of crashes involving American service personnel driving on wrong side of road, claims Harry Dunn family

Campaign to stop someone else from being killed or seriously injured outside Northamptonshire airbase as community fears repeat.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 12:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 12:54 pm

Harry Dunn's family has received 15 examples of car crashes involving American service personnel driving on the wrong side of road like the one which killed the Northamptonshire teenager.

The 19-year-old Cobblers fan died after the wrong-way collision near Croughton in August with Anne Sacoolas, the American who fled to the US claiming diplomatic immunity.

Since launching their campaign for justice, his family has been in contact with several others affected by such incidents from across the UK and dating back as far as the 1960s.

Harry's loved ones fear another accident will happen involving someone from RAF Croughton after numerous near-misses and sightings of careless driving.

Step-father Bruce Charles told BBC Breakfast: "Everyone in the community is [worried it will happen again].

"This is what we need to make sure this doesn't happen. We're speaking to loads of people who live around this area and they're quite scared.

"Some of them won't even drive down that road any more because they fear that it's going to happen to them."

Harry's family is compiling as many examples of similar crashes as they can to support their appeal for changes in how American service personnel behave while based in the UK.

Experiences include a 75-year-old man killed outside RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk after an American servicewoman was driving on the wrong side of the road - she got a driving ban.

Other incidents date back to 1969 and 1982, when a serviceman walked free after killing two pedestrians again in Suffolk.

The family's lawyer Mark Stephens told talkRADIO yesterday (Tuesday, January 21) that last week alone seven cars came out of RAF Croughton on the wrong side.

Harry Dunn

He added the Americans refuse to make the base's exit on the A43, which forces drivers on to the correct carriageway, the main thoroughfare because they would have to move a guard box.

"For me, I value life more than I value a guard box and I think it is utterly disgraceful," he said.

Northamptonshire Police has offered to pay for driver training for Americans at RAF Croughton, following the near-miss near Brackley recently and another in Northampton in October.

Harry's mother Charlotte Charles welcomed the proposal which is due to start in March for all new arrivals, and hopes to get more stickers in cars to raise awareness.

Charlotte and Bruce Charles, Harry Dunn's mother and step-father. Photo: Getty Images

"It's a small step but it's a positive step," she told BBC News.

"Our roads are very different in England in comparison to what they are in the US, we've got many more hazards, lots of hairpin bends, lots of roads that are only wide enough for one car, so driver training is particularly important."

The US Government is still deliberating on an extradition request from the Home Office for Mrs Sacoolas after she was charged with causing death by dangerous driving.