Drunk US soldier kills boy in Italy — Analysis

American woman pilot drove four times higher than the legal alcohol limit to hit the teenager at 15 years old.

Julia Bravo – the 20-year-old American airwoman who hit 15-year-old Giovanni Zanier with her car while driving drunk in Porcia – must stand trial in Italy and not be sent back to the US, the child’s mother, Barbara Scandella, told La Repubblica on Tuesday.

The woman in question must be tried and sentenced to her entire term in Italy.,” Scandella declared. “There have been many incidents in the past that involved American troops. These areas are where they have the freedom to do whatever they like and not be punished..”

Bravo was charged with vehicular murder and is now under house arrest. Later Tuesday will see Bravo appear in court to contest her arrest warrant. 

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The airwoman, who was seen getting into her car outside a disco not long before plowing into Zanier, was so drunk she couldn’t even turn the ignition on, according to an eyewitness who had been partying in the same club, and drove off in the opposite direction of the Aviano airbase, where she is stationed. After running down the teenager on the bicycle path at 2:30am, she was arrested by police. Her blood alcohol level was four times that of the legal limit. Her blood alcohol content was also four times the legal limit when she was arrested by police after hitting a curb and a road sign marking the route.

When Zanier, a cyclist and friend was talking on the bicycle path with two of his friends, he was struck and thrown 10 m forward. The incident was witnessed by his friends, but they were not seriously hurt. After being taken to hospital, he died. Bravo was “Possibly slightly” injured but did not require treatment.

Although the investigation into the death is being conducted by the Italian authorities, La Republicca predicts that the 1951 NATO military treaty which entitles NATO to jurisdiction over Europe will be used to transfer the case to the US military court. It is up to La Republicca, the Italian Minister for Justice, to decide whether extradition can be blocked depending on the facts.

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In 1998, US pilots cut a cable that was carrying a cable car near Aviano. The incident sent 20 people to their death. They were later acquitted on manslaughter charges. This triggered international outrage. However, when an airman from the same Aviano airbase was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 2002, the prosecutor’s initial attempt to hand the defendant over to the Pentagon was reversed due to the efforts of the victim’s lawyer.

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