American servicewoman kills Italian boy in caar crash

Mother of boy killed near Italian airbase calls for driver to be prosecuted in Italy


An American servicewoman kills Italian boy near Aviano airbase. Victim’s mother calls for driver to be tried in Italy.

Giovanni Zanier, 15-year-old, was chatting with friends on a cycling path near the road when the car struck him, Corriere della Sera reported. He died en-route to hospital. His friends were uninjured.

Behind the wheel was a 20-year-old US servicewoman. She hit the curb at the edge of a roundabout at about 2.30am on Sunday. Italian media report she was 4 times over the legal alcohol limit for driving in Italy. The accident took place in Porcia, around nine miles from Aviano airbase in northern Italy.

Zanier’s mother, Barbara Scandella,  has called for the accused to be tried in Italy and not the US. In interviews on state radio and with La Repubblica newspaper, Scandella expressed her fears the woman may be allowed to leave Italy.

“We want her to be tried in Italy and that she be given the sentence she deserves,” she said.

Italian media reported the driver was placed under house arrest on base while the local investigation continues. Immediately after the crash, she lent help and called for medical assistance, media reports said.

US military authorities expressed “deepest condolences”. The young man’s family and the local community are in our hearts and prayers,” said a written statement from base authorities.

Why might the perpetrator leave Italy?

Concern the woman might not be tried in Italy was sparked by comments from the Pordenone public prosecutor, Raffaele Tito. He said that in accordance with “international treaties with regard to the jurisdiction applying to Nato forces stationed in Europe”, the Italian justice ministry could decide that the case be heard in the US.

As a result, any prosecution would be handled by military authorities in the United States. Something similar happened when in 1998 a US Marine jet taking off from the Aviano base clipped a cable. It sent a cable car plunging into the mountain, killing 20 onboard. They were acquitted of manslaughter in the US, straining relations with Italy.

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