Mayor ‘Frustrated’ By Investigation Of Crash That Killed 5-Year-Old Girl
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Updated 8:30 p.m. on 9/5/2012
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Police have cited an 18-year-old woman with the offense of driving while intoxicated in connection with a Labor Day accident in Highland Park that killed a 5-year-old girl, but the mayor suggests the driver has been treated too leniently.
Carly A. Rousso of Highland Park is expected to appear in court Sept. 21 at the Lake County Courthouse, the city said in a news release issued Wednesday. Rousso allegedly was operating a Lexus that struck Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento at 2:30 p.m. Monday as the girl was walking with her mother and two younger brothers on Central Avenue near Green Bay Road.
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News of the citation against Rousso — contained in a written statement attributed to City Manager David Knapp — follows a scathing letter by Mayor Nancy Rotering, who complained Lake County prosecutors have so far treated the driver with leniency.
Knapp said prosecutors are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.
“Additional charges have not been imposed at this time pending the completion of investigative work and results of the blood and urine analysis. Results from the forensic analysis of the evidence will dictate the appropriate charge(s). According to the State’s Attorney’s office, this case is being handled in the same manner as other cases of this magnitude,” the news release attributed to Knapp said.
In a letter to residents, Mayor Rotering said she and the city council are “frustrated by the delayed manner in which this case is being handled.”
She took direct aim at the Lake County State’s Attorneys office.
“The decision to file charges is made by the Lake County State’s Attorney,” Rotering wrote. “Releasing the driver with no restrictions was a decision of the State’s Attorney. This was a mistake and we are demanding an explanation.”
Jaclyn’s mother, Modesta Sacramento-Jimenez, and the girl’s brothers – Daniel, 4, and Juan Carlos, 2 – were hospitalized, but not seriously injured.
Rousso also was treated at Highland Park Hospital, but has since been released.
A witness tells the Chicago Tribune the teenage driver had been driving erratically just before the collision. Another witness told the Tribune the young woman appeared unsteady and at one point, seemed to pass out briefly as she spoke with police.
The Lake County Major Crash Assistance team and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office are assisting in the investigation, police said.
“We continue to urge the Lake County State’s Attorney, in the strongest possible terms, to conclude its investigation and evaluation of the evidence and bring charges against the driver as appropriate,” Rotering said in the letter. “Without this vital next step, due process cannot proceed and our community cannot begin to work through this tragedy.”
Officials with the state’s attorney’s office were not immediately available for comment.
A fund has been set up for the family.
Donations should be noted to the benefit of the Santos family and mailed to the Highland Park Community Foundation, PO Box 398, Highland Park, Illinois. Donations can also be on‐line.