Highland Park teen found guilty of aggravated DUI in girl's deat - FOX 32 News Chicago

Highland Park teen found guilty of aggravated DUI in girl's death

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Carly Rousso of Highland Park Carly Rousso of Highland Park
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A Highland Park teen who confessed to being high on inhalants when she ran over a family of four, killing a young girl, was found guilty of aggravated DUI by a Lake County judge on Thursday, the Sun-Times is reporting.

Judge James Booras deliberated less than 30 minutes before ruling that Carly Rousso was guilty of four counts of aggravated DUI in running over 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos Sacramento, her mother, and two brothers on Labor Day, 2012.

Before her trial started Tuesday, Rousso pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in the crash that killed the girl.

Both families declined to comment after the verdict Thursday.

On the day of the crash, Rousso had been out of rehab for just two weeks, when she made an “impulse decision” to buy a computer air duster at a Walgreens, she told police during a videotaped confession.

She cruised through Highland Park in her father’s Lexus coupe that afternoon, inhaling from the aerosol can, according to court testimony.

Then, she told police, she “must have passed out.” When she regained consciousness, her car was nudged against a building near downtown Highland Park and bystanders were screaming for her to get out of the car, according to court testimony.

During closing arguments her attorney, Douglas Zeit, did not deny that his young client was responsible for a “horrific crash.”

But he repeatedly argued some inhalants are not listed as an intoxicant under state law.

Witness testimony, backed up by surveillance video, showed that Rousso’s car crossed oncoming lanes of traffic and barreled over a curb before striking the family of four as they walked on a sidewalk.

In a chaotic 911 tape, witnesses can be heard screaming at the driver to stop.

The video shows the Lexus reversing several car lengths before running over the injured girl a second time.

Then the car lurched forward again, running over the girl a third time, according to Dana Poncher and her son, Adam, who both testified Tuesday at the Waukegan courthouse.

Adam Poncher testified that Rousso was not fully conscious as he pounded on the window to try to stop her from driving over the girl again.

When Rousso finally appeared to regain consciousness, her car had come to rest against a building, and she asked in a slurry drawl: “What happened?” Adam Poncher said.

Highland Park Police Officer Anton Galati was the first cop on the scene that afternoon. Rousso approached him while sobbing hysterically, he testified Tuesday.

Then she pleaded with him to take her away, he said.

“You’ve got to get me out of here,” Galati said Rousso told him. Referring to the accident, Galati testified that Rousso said: “I did this.”

He placed her in the back of his patrol car and she passed out, Galati said.

Later, when asked by police if she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Rousso replied: “Not any more.”

Rousso, who has been free on bail since her family posted a $500,000 bond, faces two to 14 years in prison for conviction on the DUI charge.

A settlement was reached in a civil case the Santos family filed against Rousso, but details of the agreement have not been released to the public.

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