WAUKEGAN, Ill. (STMW) – Highland Park 19-year-old Carly Rousso missed her court date Tuesday, after voluntarily checking into a treatment center due to mental trauma from the fatal accident she was involved in last summer.
Prosecutors said they have no problem with Rousso seeking treatment, but added that they still expect her to attend all court dates.
“I encourage her to get treatment,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Ori at Tuesday’s hearing.
But Ori reiterated that her treatment is voluntary and her parents could have brought her to court. He also said prosecutors should have been notified ahead of time if she would not attend.
Rousso was to appear before Circuit Judge James Booras for a pretrial hearing on charges of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide stemming from the Labor Day 2012 incident on Central Avenue in downtown Highland Park, where she is alleged to have run over Highwood 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos after inhaling or “huffing” a chemical agent.
Judge Booras admonished Rousso in absentia for not appearing in court.
Her defense attorney, Douglas Zeit, responded that she is participating in a voluntary in-patient treatment program for stress- and trauma-related issues.
Rousso has been free on bail after her family posted a $500,000 bond.
The trial is scheduled to start Sept. 27, but Ori suggested that a plea agreement is possible before that.
A settlement has already been reached in a civil case against Rousso. The family of Jaclyn Santos filed a suit seeking damages in excess of $50,000. The settlement agreement was sealed.
Jaclyn was walking with her mother and two siblings on a downtown Highland Park sidewalk when she was run over by a car.
According to the lawsuit, Rousso was allegedly driving under the influence of difluoreothane, a cleaning agent.
The lawsuit alleged that Rousso drove over Jaclyn as her mother and siblings watched, then allegedly put her car in reverse and ran Jaclyn over a second time.
If convicted of the criminal charges, Rousso could spend up to 14 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)