Italy is investigating a US serviceman in an accident that killed a teenager



ROME — Italian authorities were investigating a US servicewoman, stationed at an air base in northern Italy, on Monday for the alleged drive-by homicide of a 15-year-old boy hit by a car on a city road.

The woman was driving a car that crashed into the pavement at the edge of a roundabout around 2.30am on Sunday in the town of Porcia, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Aviano base, Italian media said .

Giovanni Zanier was chatting with two friends on a bike path near the road, when he was hit and his body thrown tens of meters (yards) by the impact, Corriere della Sera said. He died while being transferred to hospital. His friends are unharmed.

US military authorities expressed their “sincere condolences” and said they were working closely with Italian law enforcement. “The young man’s family and the local community are in our hearts and prayers,” said a written statement from grassroots authorities. They declined to give details and US authorities did not identify the woman.

Italian media said the driver, 20, had been placed under house arrest at the base as the investigation by local prosecutors continues.

Immediately after the crash, she pulled over for help and called for medical assistance, Italian media said.

No one answered calls to the office of the Pordenone prosecutor, Raffaele Tito. Corriere della Sera quoted him as saying on Sunday that if an indictment is successful, US authorities could invoke jurisdiction under an Italian-American military treaty under the auspices of NATO.

This could mean that any pursuit would be handled by military authorities in the United States, like what happened after a US Navy jet plane, after taking off from the Aviano base in 1998, cut off a cable passing down a mountainside, sending a cable car plunging down a slope and killing 20 Europeans on board.

Residents complained that the roundabout was poorly lit. Mayor Marco Sartini told Sky that lighting had been reduced in line with calls from the Italian government to reduce energy consumption amid feared shortages linked to uncertainties surrounding Russian energy supplies amid war in Ukraine .

Beyond any other responsibility for the accident, “I hope the city is thinking about the situation with street lighting and signage,” Ada Zanier, an aunt of the victim, told Sky. She added that “a series of other accidents” had occurred in the roundabout area.

The 1998 crash caused national outrage in Italy. In that accident, a Marine EA-6B Prowler flew through a valley just above the treetops, cutting the cable with its fin before returning safely to Aviano Base. The pilot was eventually acquitted of 20 counts of manslaughter by a court martial in the United States.


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