US driver ‘linked to secret service’ flees UK after crash leaves nurse unable to walk

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A mental health nurse has said it is “devastating” that a US citizen said to be associated with the secret service had fled the UK following a car crash that left her unable to walk.

Elizabeth Donowho, 56, had been travelling home from work when another driver collided with her car, resulting in her being hospitalised and unable to work for six weeks.

Issac Calderon, 22, had been due to appear at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 1 December, charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

But it later emerged that the suspect had been able to travel to Houston, Texas on a commercial flight just days before his court appearance, despite police describing him as a “flight risk”.

West Mercia Police told Ms Donowho that the 22-year-old had been carrying out work “associated with the secret service” and working on matters “that might come under the Official Secrets Act” before the crash on the A4103 near Shucknall, Herefordshire on 31 July.

The crash occurred along the A4103 by Shucknall Hill, Herefordshire

(PA)

Ms Donowho, of Malvern, Worcestershire, said: “It was just a normal evening driving home from work.

“I had no warning really that there was going to be an incident – the first thing I knew was a big silver object hurtling towards me, I couldn’t identify it as a car.

She has said his return to the US has been ‘pretty devastating’

(PA)

“It turned out that the side of the car was coming towards me and there was nothing I could do to avoid it, I just had to brace myself for the impact and the inevitable.”

She spent two and a half weeks in hospital, adding: “I had multiple fractures, which included my sternum, my right hand and both my ankles.

She suffered multiple fractures and was left unable to work for six weeks

(PA)

“I had to have surgery on my left ankle which was broken in two places and I couldn’t walk for six weeks. I had two and a half weeks in hospital and had to rely on the kindness of others to get by.”

Ms Donowho said she has been unable to work since the crash, adding: “The fact that the person who crashed into me didn’t turn up for the hearing and has since left the country has been pretty devastating.

“I thought things would move on after the hearing but it’s just got much worse.”

The case follows that of Anne Sacoolas, a US citizen who was able to leave the UK after diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf following a road crash that killed teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn in August 2019.

Responding to the news, Mr Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said she was “horrified to hear what happened to Elizabeth and that the defendant has now fled the country”.

She added: “This takes me right back to the weeks following Harry’s death when the same thing happened to us.

“I am now in close contact with Elizabeth and am giving her all the support I can, as are my team. I fully expect her situation to be resolved far more quickly than ours was.”

Harry Dunn’s mother said she was ‘horrified’ to hear about the incident and has reached out to Ms Donowho

(PA)

The Hereford Times said Caldron’s occupation was given as an American soldier during December’s court hearing.

Mr Calderon has been described as a “private citizen” by the US embassy and police said he had been in the UK on a work visa.

It is understood police were not advised of any intention Mr Calderon had of leaving the UK. He had been interviewed on 15 August by officers, 15 days after the initial crash, as he required immediate hospital treatment.

Asked what she had been told about him, Ms Donowho said: “I was told that because the person who crashed into me was American and a flight risk, that they were working much more quickly than usual to get him to court.

“I was also told by police early on – they cited the case of Anne Sacoolas and repeated that he was obviously a flight risk.

“They said they had spoken with our military police who had then spoken with American military police who had guaranteed that he would stay in the country to face justice.”

She claims that West Mercia Police informed her he was a ‘flight risk’

(PA)

She added: “I strongly suspected it [that he would leave the country]. It’s put a completely different spin on things, and of course, I feel really let down by the authorities who guaranteed they had put everything in place to keep the other driver in this country to go through our justice system.

“He could be anywhere in the world now, I do doubt that we will ever see him again.”

Confirming Mr Calderon’s departure, West Mercia Police said: “Mr Calderon is an American citizen who, we understand, was in the UK on a work visa.

“Our inquiries have established that he left the UK on November 25 and flew to the United States. We are engaging with his solicitor to inform him of the warrant and the need for him to return to the UK.

Harry Dunn was killed in a crash in August 2019

(PA)

“We have also prepared appropriate paperwork should we need to request extradition, to ensure that the case can be heard in court.”

Ms Donowho said she wanted the UK and US authorities to work together to secure Mr Calderon’s return. Asked if she had a message for him, she said: “I suspect he’s quite frightened.

“I would say please make yourself known to the authorities closest to your location so that they can support you to do the right thing.”

A US embassy spokesperson said: “The US embassy does not comment on law enforcement matters involving private US citizens. The US and UK coordinate closely on law enforcement matters.”

The Home Office said it would neither confirm nor deny whether an extradition request had been made until the suspect had been arrested, as a matter of longstanding policy and practice.