A United States aircraftwoman knocked over and killed a 15-year-old boy in northern Italy over the weekend. The 20-year-old USAF soldier was based at the Aviano air force base near Pordenone.
As is the policy of the US government, the US usually tries its own citizens back in the States even when they have committed crimes abroad. On Tuesday, fearing that justice will not prevail, the boy’s mother is insisting that she must be tried in Italy and not the US.
“That woman must be tried in Italy and serve her full term,” said Barbara Scandella, mother of Giovanni Zanier, the victim of the incident near Pordenone early on Sunday morning. The aircraftwoman, 20-year-old Julia Bravo, was found to have a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit in Italy. She faces a hearing to uphold her arrest warrant later Tuesday. The woman, who was driving back from a night out, reportedly lost control of her car after a roundabout and hit Giovanni Zanier on a cycle path at around two thirty in the morning. Zanier’s mother had told him to walk back from the bar he had attended with two friends even though his home was several kilometres away. The two friends were unhurt in the crash. Bravo has been arrested and placed under house arrest, charged with vehicular homicide.
The local council at Porcia recently ordered street lights in the spot to be turned off at two a.m., but police said the accident would probably not have been averted even with the lights on. An eye witness who came out of the same disco as Bravo reportedly told police Tuesday that “that woman was completely drunk when she took the wheel. She couldn’t even turn the ignition on”,” reported the Gazzettino newspaper. Despite her state of intoxication, Bravo drove off in a direction that was diametrically opposite the Aviano base, the witness said.
Scandella’s insistence that Bravo be tried in Italy recalls the controversy surrounding the case of the Cermis cable car disaster near Aviano in 1998 in which the US pilots who flew too low and cut a cable plunging 20 people to their deaths were acquitted of manslaughter in the US, straining relations with Italy.