MILAN (AP) — The mother of a 15-year-old Italian boy killed after being struck by a car driven by a U.S. servicewoman from the Aviano Air Base is demanding that the case be tried in Italy, and not by a U.S. military court.
The death of Giovanni Zanier is being investigated by Italian authorities, but because a U.S. service member is involved the case could be turned over to the military under an Italian-U.S. military treaty.
The 20-year-old woman was under house arrest for investigation of vehicular homicide. Toxicology exams showed she was driving with four times the legal limit of alcohol, Italian media have reported.
The boy’s mother, Barbara Scandella, told Italian dailies on Tuesday that the woman “must be tried in Italy and serve the entire penalty here.”
“We all know of previous incidents that have involved the American military in terrible accidents here. The truth is in these areas, they can do what they want and remain unpunished,’’ Scandella was quoted as saying by Rome daily La Repubblica. She made similar comments to Corriere della Sera.
In 1998, a U.S. pilot taking off from Aviano severed a ski-lift cable with a military jet while flying too low, killing 20 people. He was court-martialed by a U.S. military court, and acquitted on 20 counts of manslaughter in a case that provoked national outrage in Italy and strained relations with the United States.
In the latest case, the woman was driving a car that crashed into the curb at the edge of a roundabout at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the town of Porcia, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the Aviano base in northeastern Italy, Italian media said.
The 15-year-old was chatting with two friends on a bicycle path, when he was hit and his body tossed dozens of meters (yards) away by the impact, Corriere della Sera reported. He died while being transferred to a hospital. His friends were uninjured.
U.S. military authorities expressed their “deepest condolences” and said they were working closely with Italian law enforcement.