U.S. official's wife charged in car accident that killed 19-year-old in Britain

British prosecutors have charged Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, with causing death by dangerous driving after a car crash in central England in August that left a 19-year-old dead, PA media said on Friday, quoting a spokesperson for his family.

Anne Sacoolas, the accused, says in a statement she will not return to U.K. voluntarily

Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, parents of Harry Dunn, are shown on Oct. 9 in London. The parents, along with their current partners, days later travelled to the U.S. to pressure officials to extradite the driver in the fatal accident. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

British prosecutors said on Friday they had decided to charge the wife of a U.S. diplomat over a fatal car crash in England and to seek her extradition, a decision that "disappointed" Washington.

Harry Dunn's motorcycle collided with a car driven by Anne Sacoolas near RAF Croughton, an air force base in Northamptonshire used by the U.S. military. Dunn was 19.

Sacoolas, 42, was given diplomatic immunity and left Britain shortly after the accident, setting off a dispute between London and Washington over whether she should return to face investigation.

"The director of public prosecutions has met with Harry Dunn's family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a thorough review of the evidence available," Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement.

But CPS said it was up to the interior ministry to decide whether to seek Sacoolas's extradition formally through diplomatic channels.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab praised the decision by prosecutors.

"I welcome the taking of a charging decision which is an important step towards justice for Harry and towards solace for his family, but it is not the end," Raab said.

"I hope that Anne Sacoolas will now realize the right thing to do is to come back to the U.K. and co-operate with the criminal justice process."

'A terrible but unintentional accident'

That doesn't appear to be the case, at least initially, according to a statement released by Sacoolas's attorney.

"Anne will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident," Amy Jeffress said in a statement.

The case gained international prominence when Dunn's parents met U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in October, an occasion he described as "beautiful" but "sad." Trump met the family in a bid to persuade them to meet Sacoolas, who was in the building at the same time.

The parents, who had not been told she would be there, were shocked by the overture and declined, though they seemed to assign most of their displeasure to being caught unawares to Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien.

The U.S. State Department said the decision by British prosecutors was disappointing.

"We are disappointed by today's announcement and fear that it will not bring a resolution closer," the department spokesperson said.

"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 maximum jail sentence in Britain for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years.

With files from CBC News