European edition, Thursday, June 7, 2007

An Italian carabinieri officer said Tuesday that officials are still looking into a January automobile accident that claimed the life of an Aviano High School senior.

Responding to a request from Stars and Stripes for more information about the crash, which involved three U.S. airmen and 18-year-old Vanessa Russo, Giorgio Ferracin said in an e-mail that “there is still an ongoing investigation and the public prosecutor of the Pordenone Court of Justice has not authorized our request to release that information to you.”

Russo was killed when the vehicle crashed into the perimeter wall of Area 1 shortly after midnight on Jan. 7. There were reportedly no other vehicles involved in the accident and officials have declined to talk about the circumstances surrounding the crash or factors that might have contributed to it.

The airmen involved have never been identified by the base. All three are still on active duty, according to Capt. Jennifer Ferrau, chief of public affairs for the 31st Fighter Wing.

Air Force officials are also conducting an investigation and have asked for jurisdiction to prosecute any crimes that occurred, Ferrau said.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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