Charges Could Be Dropped in Fatal DUI Because Inhalant Isn’t a Legal Intoxicant

The Highland Park teenager who ran over a 5-year-old girl last year had been huffing diuflorthane. But the chemical is not listed as an intoxicating substance under Illinois law.

The lawyer for a Highland Park 19-year-old accused of running over and killing a 5-year-old girl has asked that the most severe charges against her be dropped. His reasoning: the chemical she was huffing at the time of the crash is not specified as an intoxicant under Illinois law.

Carly Rousso was charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide following the death of Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, who was walking with her family when the car Rousso was driving ran onto the sidewalk and hit her. Rousso has pled not guilty.

Toxicology reports indicate that the compound difluoroethane was detected in Rousso's blood. It’s found in a commercial cleaning product uncovered in Rousso's car at the time, according to police.

Last week, her lawyer filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the four aggravated DUI charges — two of which are the most serious of the charges against her — because difluoroethane is not listed as an intoxicant under Illinois statute.

Northwestern Law Professor Joe Margulies told Patch that Rousso’s lawyer was correct in asking for the dismissal.

“You do not scoff on constitutional rights as a technicality,” Margulies said. “Constitutional rights are not a technicality and shame on the public for saying this kind of stuff.”

Rousso’s lawyer said in court last week that the law under which Rousso was charged is unconstitutional because it is vague. Based on the statements in the motion, Margulies agrees.

“If the defense is correct, the statute is unconstitutionally vague,” he said.

If the motion is successful, Rousso would face substantially less jail time. Aggravated DUI involving death carries a sentence of four to 15 years and no probation if aggravation can be proved at trial. Reckless homicide carries a penalty of three to seven years with the possibility of probation.

Reporting by Steve Sadin

Jasmine W. Colbert September 24, 2013 at 09:24 PM
sure its reprehensible, however, I totally get it. If I was on the wrong side of the law I would want my lawyer to do everything within the law to keep me out of jail, guilty or innocent. can you imagine if they didn't. If you were accused of something (and innocent) if your lawyer didn't believe you they'd just through you to the wolves. So, while she deserves to be under the jail, I understand her lawyer.
Jasmine W. Colbert September 24, 2013 at 09:31 PM
@TB just because someone is liberal does not mean they have total disrespect for law, just that they may have a different view on how to make the world a better place. The sooner we stop generalizing either other the sooner we can set things in motion.
Holland Gurnee September 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Won't be long and she will be out driving again. Better keep your eyes open. Keep a check and make sure you know what kind of car she has.
kathi mcdonough September 25, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Oh, that scumbag attorney must be so proud of himself! Done found himself a technicality. How do these worthless bastards sleep at night?
exoticdoc2 September 25, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Here we have a classic example of why the legal system is such a disaster. The so-called law "professors" themselves are sleazy and they therefore churn out sleazy lawyers. It IS only a technicality, the girl is guilty of murder because she chose to get intoxicated and drive and killed a child as a result. HER constitutional rights? What about the rights of the child she murdered? Lawyers are trained wrong in the first place with a highly distorted sense of "morality." By the time they graduate law school they cannot even properly distinguish right from wrong anymore and think what is "right" is to get their client off even at the expense of truth and justice. Hopeless.
David Greenberg September 25, 2013 at 10:35 AM
There's nothing sleezy about asking the State to enforce the law as it's written. If the State has a law that says "X and Y" are considered intoxicating substances and you can't drive with them in your system, then they can't charge you for driving with "Z" in your system under that law, and if they do - they have no case. We can't start trying to prosecute people for things which aren't technically illegal but are considered immoral or we end up as one of those 3rd World hellholes we're always battling against...
Meshephelous September 25, 2013 at 01:58 PM
The way this article is written makes it seem like dismissal is a foregone conclusion. Hardly. It's covered. Here's the statute.................... .................... ................. (720 ILCS 690/1) (from Ch. 38, par. 81-1) Sec. 1. Use prohibited. No person shall ingest, breathe, inhale or drink any compound, liquid, or chemical containing toluol, hexane, trichloroethylene, acetone, toluene, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone, trichloroethane, isopropanol, methyl isobutyl ketone, methyl cellosolve acetate, cyclohexanone, the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, or scopolamine, ************or any other substance for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication, stupefaction, depression, giddiness, paralysis or irrational behavior, or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental processes.*************** For the purposes of this Act, any such condition so induced shall be deemed to be an intoxicated condition.
Jean Hayes September 25, 2013 at 02:53 PM
I dont believe it, Hey SHE KILLED SOMEONE !! These stupid loop holes should be eliminated, she was under the influence....period !!!!
exoticdoc2 September 25, 2013 at 04:04 PM
greenberg. It is that kind of thinking that has made our legal system the train wreck it is today. YES it is sleazy to get a murderer off on a technicality. YES it is sleazy to try and get any guilty person off at the expense of the truth and justice. YES it is sleazy the way lawyers in this country practice their disreputable profession. The fact that there are those who can no longer even recognize this demonstrates how far we have sunk.
Meshephelous September 25, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Disreputable? Come on now. You better hope you don't get charged with child molestation or something horrible. You'll certainly want the best defense you can get. And truth and justice? Let the court system figure it out, based on the law and the facts. Seems you have jumped to conclusions without knowing either. And for the record, if this chick did huff a can of dust-off, I hope she gets sent to state prison, gen pop, for as long as possible.
exoticdoc2 September 25, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Meshephelous. And yet another straw man caricature of what was said. First, if I actually did something horrible, I would DESERVE whatever I get. We are not talking about a person charged with something they are not guilty of, but of a scumbag who chose to get high and then killed someone as a result, so save your absurd misrepresentations. I would not be surprised if you were a lawyer, since this is the kind of misleading arguments and outright lies they use to get scum off the hook so that they are free to go out and hurt someone else.
Stu Pidasso September 27, 2013 at 12:21 AM
@Meshephelous, just by random chance I happened to be standing about 15 feet away from her car( pulled into gas station, I was there before ambulances arrived! then proceeded to cross the street and watch the events unfold) when one of the cops picked up an aeresol can from the front passenger seat and was looking at it!, which at that moment she needed to be propped up after getting out of her car so that she would not fall over!! I saw it with my own eyes!!! very sad situation all around...
Amber's Angel's September 27, 2013 at 06:58 PM
First off the headline is misleading. ALL charges are not being dropped. Only the DUI charges are being questioned. "If the motion is successful, Rousso would face substantially less jail time. Aggravated DUI involving death carries a sentence of four to 15 years and no probation if aggravation can be proved at trial. Reckless homicide carries a penalty of three to seven years with the possibility of probation." Either way the penalties are far too lenient for killing someone. One of the biggest hurdles the system faces is the constant change amongst those who wish to get high or get a rush or a buzz. The "Market place" if you will is constantly changing. Home cleaning and industrial products, as well as so many new "herbal , faux and synthetic products" emerging almost daily. Not to defend our system , but how can they keep up? I think the laws need to cover ANY intoxicant legal or illegal. After all a small amount of alcohol doesn't make you legally drunk , but everyone's tolerance or intoxication level is different. If a substance alters or impairs ones ability to safely operate a vehicle then it should be considered a DUI whether the substance is on a list or not. What may affect one persons abilities may not be an illegal substance. It may be a "new discovery" to those getting high and little is readily known about it. A life has been taken and this innocent little girl Jaclyn, will never grow up or have a future. Her family will grieve until they die, no matter what the general population believes. Her mother gets no visits, no calls, no letters, no future coming home date. Her mother's "sentence" is for life. The little girl Jaclyn got death, she gets no deal, no do over, no coming home date.
Stu Pidasso September 28, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Agreed, good points Amber
Meshephelous September 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Stu, if you really saw that happen, I hope that you have contacted the Lake County State's Attorney to tell them what you saw.
Stu Pidasso September 30, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Why? it " seemed " like the cops had control of the situation after they had arrived. I assumed that it was noted on the officers report that an officer picked up an aerosol can off of the front passenger seat while ,CARLY WAS SITTING IN THE CAR ,and stared at it for about 8-10 seconds.She then needed assistance as she was getting out of the car, as it looked like she had rubber legs and was about to pass out.(That is when two officer and a paramedic helped her into a chair of some sort and carried her about 15 feet to the passenger side of the ambulance. Thats when I turned to my 12 year old son and said that she looks like she has been drinking or she is on drugs(the aeresol can) and that she will be in alot of trouble) Why would I think differently?.
Meshephelous September 30, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Because you are an independent eyewitness, and your observations might be instrumental in the furtherance of justice. Perhaps the cop is discredited in some other way. It may be your testimony that the jury listens to.
Moe @ the Buck September 30, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Hey Meshephelous, you seem to know a lot about the law, are you a bartender? You need a guy like on these juries, I'm white, a bartender, watch a lot of court TV, and can just look at someone, and tell if they're guilty:)
fred September 30, 2013 at 09:10 PM
It altered her state of perception. Let a DUI stick.
Jean Hayes October 01, 2013 at 09:30 AM
Moe, that's scary! wouldnt want you on my jury !!
Moe @ the Buck October 01, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Jean Hayes, sorry I scared you, that's just what I tell them to get out of jury duty:-) I am now putting a nose on my smiley faces:^) which one do you think is better:{) or mustache?
Jean Hayes October 01, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Me thinks a nose !! LOL
Walter White October 01, 2013 at 03:24 PM
No wonder he shops at Walmart. Perfect for the low income, low intelligence crowd.
Jean Hayes October 01, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Who shops at Walmart?
David October 05, 2013 at 08:12 AM
David October 5, 2013 at 07:11 am Obviously, if it was the other way around and an Hispanic driver who was huffing wound up on the curb, killing a White child, this story would be a lot different. Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Yeah, right.
Puddinghead October 05, 2013 at 04:03 PM
David who posted October 5 2013 at 8:12am. The driver in this case is Hispanic. She was adopted into the Rousso family. This case has absolutely nothing to do with race. It has nothing to do with class.
Benny G. October 07, 2013 at 12:06 AM
All you blood thirsty apes read David Greenberg's comment then re read it then ask someone to explain it to you. The level of literacy here is astounding.
Puddinghead October 07, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Social Justice does not equal Constitutional Justice. What evolves from something like this will be along the lines of "Jacqueline's Law". But in the meantime the victim's rights are represented by the District Attorney and as offensive as this is to people the accused still has her Constitutional right to due process.
David October 08, 2013 at 07:43 AM
Puddinghead, Yes, the driver may be Hispanic, but the parents are White and they "drive" the ongoing defense of their daughter. Race of the parents as White, versus race of the parents of the child who was killed, are Hispanic. Who has the power in this case? The Harvard Crimson reports: "Racial bias in our justice system has been well documented, from discriminatory policing, to racial differences in litigations..." Whites definitely have the advantage. The driver my be Hispanic, but she's part of a White family with White parents. Race certainly does play into this.
Benny G. October 08, 2013 at 03:13 PM
According to Mark Geragos, race has EVERYTHING to do with our justice system from front to back.


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