US soldier under house arrest in Italy after driving drunk, killing teen

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A US soldier stationed in Italy was under house arrest after being accused of killing a teenager while driving drunk, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Pordenone, in Italy’s far northeast, charged the 20-year-old female soldier stationed at the US Air Force’s Aviano Air Base with vehicular manslaughter Tuesday, defense lawyer Aldo Massarut told AFP.

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The 15-year-old victim had been on the street with friends in the early hours of Monday morning when he was hit by the soldier’s car, according to witnesses.

Authorities measured the soldier’s alcohol level as 2.09 grams per liter, said Massarut, more than three times the legal limit.

The mother of the teenager, Barbara Scandella, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that she wanted the soldier tried in Italy.

“I don’t trust the American justice system,” said Scandella.

“We all know that the soldiers on the Aviano base in this area do what they like, that they don’t respect the rules...,” she said.

It was too early to know whether she would be prosecuted in Italy or in the United States. Washington can petition the Italian justice ministry to allow the soldier to be prosecuted in her home country.

Massarut said his client was “extremely emotionally exhausted,” expressing her remorse and apologizing to the family during Tuesday’s audience with prosecutors.

Corriere della Sera said prosecutors had testimony from a witness who claimed to have seen the soldier leaving a discotheque, and who subsequently saw her driving erratically on the road.

The commander of the 31st Fighter Wing, which is stationed at Aviano, issued a brief statement of condolences to the victim’s family Tuesday.

“Our wing is working in close collaboration with the Italian base command team and Italian law enforcement agencies, specifically the Carabinieri,” said Brigadier General Tad Clark in the statement.

The US Embassy did not respond to requests for information.

The teenager’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday.

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