Wrong side of the road

American bases in a Europe might be little Americas but they follow the road signage and rules of the host country. I spent time on detachments on USAAF airbases in Cambridgeshire and there were always jokes about keeping to the wrong side of the road. Strangely the only fatality I knew about was an accident caused by an RAF Warrant Officer, based in Germany, who was in England for the weekend for a family wedding. He too pulled out on the wrong side of the road and crashed head on into a motorcycle coming in the other direction. The rider was killed instantly. I can still remember speaking to him afterwords and, although he took full responsibility for the crash, he said that he was haunted by the fact that the motorcyclist just kept coming straight towards him. He was arrested, charged, and tried for causing death by dangerous driving. He lost his licence and was given a significant fine. That was only half of it, the RAF demoted him to the ranks and he suffered all the consequences of that demotion losing his rate of pay, pension entitlement and even the standard of housing for him and his family on their U.K. base in Germany. For the military his mistake was considered to be a very big deal indeed.
On here people have joked about pulling out on the wrong side of the road but the truth is it’s no laughing matter and the onus is on every driver to ensure that they follow the local rules of the road. If the woman involved in the current tragedy is protected from facing the law for the part she played then heads need to roll.


You are right Peter that we have all found ourselves making mistakes or almost making mistakes about driving on the other side of the road, and that clearly this was a very, very unfortunate accident. What takes it into the domain of a criminal offence, however, is that the driver concerned has actually taken flight and left the country to avoid legal pursuit (“délit de fuite”). Apart from the fact of the very serious legal implications and the stress caused to the poor boy’s family, this woman should and must realise that unless she allows the legal process to take its course, she is going to have to live with her guilty conscience for the rest of her life.

In my opinion, the time has come for a radical review at the international level of diplomatic immunity which is no longer fit for purpose and now mainly serves to provide unjustified tax exemptions for civil servants overseas and their dependants.


Re first para: Then she has no moral compass and nor do they.

So what. That sort of thing happens. It isn’t earth-shattering, or remotely shocking, compared with killing someone, and certainly doesn’t justify sneaking out of the country.
She should just tell the truth and take the consequences.
She would be tried in the UK, not somewhere she’d be summarily shot.


It’s not my intention to minimise the seriousness of the situation nor the culpability if the driver in making a cowardly exit to try to escape the consequences of what she did. It’s a case of delayed “hit and run”, no getting away from it.

I rather doubt the decision to whisk her back to the US was entirely hers, as my comment posited for consideration by others. From what I’ve observed about the way America behaves around the world, I think my analysis has some merit.

Thanks to everyone for interesting and thoughtful comments, all characterised by balance and moderation. :hugs:

I see on the TV News today that Trump is saying accidents do happen and yes they do. I knocked a glass off the worktop and of course it broke. No body hurt. But in the case of the Diplomat’s wife she was allegedly committing a moving traffic offence by driving on the wrong side of the road. That was not an accident it was driving in contravention of the regulations which caused death by dangerous driving.

We lesser mortals get punished for a breach of driving regulations so why should a Diplomat’s wife get away scot free.

Of course she should be returned to the the UK. No-one is above the law.


@chrisTW: “No-one is above the law.”

This point is well made. I think my own point about the act being accidental is that (as far as we know) she did not intentionally or recklessly drive on the wrong side of the road, or intend to kill the motorcyclist.

I agree that the matter can only be satisfactorily determined by a trial in UK.

I very much doubt that any verdict reached or sentence passed on any offence proved will diminish the sense of outrage and the grief of the family at the death of the young man, especially since the case has become a ‘cause celebre’ in the media.

Nor will any apology offered or remorse expressed be easily swallowed by those aggrieved.

Doesn’t work like that @Peter_Goble
A drunk driver or speeder doesn’t “intentionally” drive with the intent to kill either but their actions are nonetheless culpable. “Intentionally” is a state of mind only in the mind of the individual, not a legal maxim nor a defence for their actions.


Mr Rumpole QC aka @Graham_Lees, wig askew, asserts masterfully:

“Intentionally” is a state of mind only in the mind of the individual, not a legal maxim nor a defence for their actions.”

I’m grateful to, and stand abashed beside, m’learned friend for his very proper correction…:star_struck:

Pictures circulating on Twitter suggest no intention to return her to UK

I’ll not comment again about the accidental bit but rather about what a trial might mean to the family involved. A trial might just help them to bring closure to the life of their son and get back to some semblance of a normal live, without a trial, the loss of their son will continue to be a festering sore causing more pain and more suffering.

The woman should return to the UK and should not be protected by the Trump Government.


Then, as my earlier posts should have made clear, we are in agreement on that point. She should. But will she? It should be pretty clear to the parents by now that she won’t.

And even if she were obliged to stand trial, she would almost certainly be unwilling to face the parents and give a personal account of what happened, and of her regrets. It would IMI be a hollow ‘victory’, and add add to and prolong their bitterness.

Coercive ‘solutions’ like this never lead to closure, because closure, like forgiveness, is an act of conscious will, not a profit-and-loss balance sheet, or a public tug-of-war.

It might give the media another barnstorming ‘human interest’ bloodfest to headline, of course. Conflict is, for the newspapers especially, “the gift that never stops giving”. :frowning:

I cannot agree with you Peter. Maybe you are psychiatrically qualified in such matters in which case I bow to your superior knowledge and wider experience whereas I am only writing from the personal experience of a friend who was lost in not too dissimilar circumstances. The inquest and the eventual court case did, for them, bring closure and although their loss still haunts them at least they are remembering their daughter and her lovely short life rather than fighting for justice.

As for the woman returning (remember she seems to have lied to the Police that she would not be leaving the country) I doubt it is within her control to do so. The White House will not allow it, though they could force it.


Of course I fully respect your own experience, and my own does to an extent rely on a generality of professional experiences.

Each case is unique as to the antecedent circumstances, including the personality and history of the perpetrator, and the attendant events that follow.

I celebrate the fact that your friend’s crisis was eventually resolved in a positive way, with the support it seems of skilful and dignified actors. A vital ingredient in such cases.

I’m not sure we can assume that the perpetrator lied to the police about not leaving.

She may earnestly have believed (and declared) that she would and should stay in England, but may have been ‘persuaded’ (at a time of great susceptibility to contrary counsel) to change her mind. That could not fairly be described after the fact as ‘lying’ in the first instance, could it?

All these intangibles could be scrutinised by an inquest and perhaps by a criminal trial, but I doubt like you that either will come to pass.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not ‘taking side’ either way. I launched the topic as an interesting quandary worth exploring. It has been IMO worthwhile.

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She said one thing and then did another, which was more convenient and less disagreeablefor her. That looks a lot like lying to me.
If it was really an accident then there’s nothing to worry about.
And if she was so distraught etc etc about killing someone then maybe she should have stayed put and got some counselling, expressed her condolences to the family, etc.
And if she can’t stick to what she said what on earth is she doing driving or being married when she clearly has no agency.


LOL @véro, you are in fine feisty combative form, and have no palsied wishy-washy liberal bone in your skeleton, but…

…you do sometimes offer perspectives that are not inimical to the proposal that a woman’s agency can be neutralised by patriarchal oppression, and you are not a stranger, I reckon, to the notion that marriage is widely used as an instrument of persuasion I.e. that a man always knows best, and should always be obeyed?

It is, possible, is it not, that this little local difficulty in the world of global spookery bears some of the marks of all that? And that you do have a teeny-weeny spot of sympathy for the poor moo? :thinking::hugs:

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How can you possibly have any sympathy, except with the victims family. If she stayed to face the music/whatever then maybe, but running away under the guise of diplomatic immunity (what’s that all about anyway - licence to spy?), she deserves absolutely no sympathy whatsoever.


Completely agree Mark. She did herself no favours running away


I don’t find it hard, in fact it no longer surprises me that others take a dogmatically polarised view on anything of human significance; or address any question that evidences ethical complexity; or admit of the universal tendency to get most things wrong, as I do.

And which personal frailty, and a life-time of coming to terms with it, has taught me to shun certainty, and rigidity of thought.

I’ve come to realise that unwillingness to entertain doubt about everything is at the heart of our problems here on earth, and it’s fuelled by fear, perhaps the most powerful of emotions, and highly contagious.

I include myself in all the above.

Oh gosh yes, I forgot they were diplomats from the Republic of Gilead :angry::angry::angry::angry::angry::angry:


But, there is no doubt she was involved in an incident, maybe an accident even, that ended up in loss of life.

Thats the way I see it anyway