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