A diplomatic morass seeped into President Biden’s first White House meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday when the president was forced to answer for a U.S. woman accused of a fatal hit and run with a teenager in Britain.
“The case is being worked on,” Mr. Biden said when a reporter asked about Harry Dunn, who was struck and killed by a car while riding on a motorbike in the U.K. in August 2019.
The car’s driver, Anne Sacoolas, left for the U.S. several weeks later along with her husband, Jonathan, a U.S. intelligence officer stationed in England. Mrs. Sacoolas was able to leave Britain after the collision because the U.S. government invoked diplomatic immunity on her behalf.
“Based on what I’ve been told, it was not an intentional act,” Mr. Biden said. “It was someone new to driving on the wrong side of the road.”
Mr. Johnson said he knew the president was trying to move the case along. He expressed his sympathies to the Dunn family, calling the legal case a “very, very sad, very sad case.”
British authorities formally charged Ms. Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving — a crime that carries a 14-year prison sentence. She remains in the U.S.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Biden also discussed the case in June when they met at the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England.
The Trump administration denied Britain’s request to extradite Ms. Sacoolas.
The Dunn family then filed the civil lawsuit in the District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, seeking damages.
Radd Seiger, the Dunn family’s spokesperson, said Tuesday the two sides have reached a “resolution” in the civil damages claim.
“The family feels they can now turn their attention to the criminal case and the long-awaited inquest into Harry‘s death which will follow the criminal case,” Mr. Seiger said.
Former President Trump awkwardly tried to resolve the issue in October 2019 by inviting Dunn’s family to the White House. While they were there, he surprised them at Ms. Sacoolas was in a nearby room and wanted to meet with them.
Dunn’s parents refused, saying it would be damaging to their mental health to meet with her, saying such a get-together should have been planned.
• This article included wire service reports.