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US serviceman arrested in Italy for fatal car crash

A US serviceman has been arrested in Italy for allegedly hitting and killing a teenager with his car while intoxicated, according to Italian media.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that the fatal incident happened in the northern town of Porcia on Sunday at around 2:30 a.m. local time.

ANSA has identified 20-year-old US Air Force service member Julia Bravo as the person who allegedly hit 15-year-old Giovanni Zanier with his car.

“I am devastated by the sadness. I apologize to everyone for the pain I have caused,” she said during a hearing to validate her arrest on Tuesday.

Bravo, who is stationed at Aviano Air Base, less than 10 miles north of Porcia, reportedly turned back after a night out when she lost control of her vehicle at a roundabout and hit Zanier, who was returning home with two friends on a bicycle. path near the road. Zanier died but his friends were not injured, ANSA said, citing Italian police.

The driver was slightly injured by broken glass and the airbag deployed during the crash. Bravo’s blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit, ANSA reported.

Italian police placed Bravo under house arrest at Aviano Air Base and charged her with driving homicide, according to ANSA.

When asked to comment, a US Air Force spokesperson told ABC News on Monday: ‘We can confirm that there was a vehicle incident involving an Airman from Aviano Air Force Base. The Air Force is cooperating with local authorities on the investigation.”

This photograph released by Italy’s Vigili del Fuoco Fire and Rescue Service on August 22, 2022 shows the car being driven by a US service member that is believed to have crashed onto the sidewalk at the edge of a roundabout in the town of Porcia , in northern Italy, early on August 21, 2022, resulting in the death of a 15-year-old boy.

Vigili del Fuoco via AP

The victim’s mother, Barbara Scandella, addressed the court, asking that Bravo be tried in Italy and not in the United States.

“This woman must be tried in Italy and serve her full sentence here,” Scandella said. “We all know the precedents where American soldiers have been involved in very serious incidents in Italy. The truth is that in these cases they do what they want and go unpunished.”

ANSA said an Italian judge is expected to decide this week whether the case will be prosecuted in Italy or the United States.

Speaking to Italian public broadcaster RAI, Pordenone prosecutor Raffaele Tito said Italy’s Justice Ministry could request that Bravo be tried in Italy based on its own decision or a request from the United States. in this sense. Tito’s office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Tuesday.

If Italian prosecutors indict Bravo, US authorities could invoke their jurisdiction under an Italian-American military treaty under the auspices of NATO. US military officials could take over the prosecution in this case.

Porcia town council had recently ordered the streetlights where the accident happened to be extinguished at 2 a.m. local time, but Italian police said the crash was unlikely to have been avoided even with the lights on, according to ANSA.

The Pordenone court validated Bravo’s pre-trial detention.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.