Mayor Frustrated By Delayed Investigation Into Fatal Car Crash

Mayor Nancy Rotering says she and the City Council are frustrated by the Lake County State's Attorney's delay in filing charges against the Highland Park teen who crashed her car into a mother and her three children on Labor Day, killing a 5-y

Our community continues to grieve over . As you may already know, Jaclyn was struck and killed by an 18year-old driver while she was walking with her family near downtown Highland Park. Her mother and younger brothers sustained injuries as well.

This case, like other similar cases, is handled by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office. The decision to file charges is made by the Lake County State’s Attorney. The City Council, staff and I are frustrated by the delayed manner in which this case is being handled. was a decision of the State’s Attorney. This was a mistake and we are demanding an explanation.

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. Without this vital next step, due process cannot proceed and our community cannot begin to work through this tragedy.

This case must be brought to its proper, legal conclusion. All of the facts should be and must be shared with the community. 

In response to this tragedy, the to provide the economic support the Santos Family needs at this time. The HP Community Foundation is serving as a repository to receive taxdeductible donations and manage distribution to 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 online by clicking here.

Nancy Rotering
Highland Park Mayor 

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Steve Handwerker September 06, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Do your homework, people, and you'll find that Rousso's father is, indeed, a pretty well-to-do information technology consultant/salesman and highly educated. Rousso's mother is executive director of our well-respected The Art Center of Highland Park. They probably had to post bail and pick up their darling Carly at the police station, did it with a big lawyer, and probably whipped up a frenzy of pressure on the police department to keep it hush-hush. As for the lame State's Atty., who knows. I would bet $100 that Mayor Rotering was NOT involved in this. I would bet that even though she possibly knows the Rousso parents personally, that she kept her nose out of this. Knowing Mayor Nancy/Mayor Rotering for some years, I've always been impressed by her sense of what is right, sense to know where the line is and how to stay on the correct side of it, how to best serve the community (did she ever, ever give you the sense that she's a vote hunter???? Never.) and the City as a whole. Even if she was a Rahmobama and self-serving (she's quite the opposite) in the name of the people, what she did for Jaclyn's family AND for our community was right. Let's applaud our mayor for doing her job like a true leader should.
Steve Handwerker September 06, 2012 at 05:15 PM
ohhhhhhhhhh, yeahhh, the girl is ouuuuut theeeeerrre. Needed help, BIG TIME. Warning signs, for sure.
Steve Handwerker September 06, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Nothin' like a teen proud of drinking. Ummm, chellllooooo, parents, please WAKE UP and stop pretending it's not going on in your family.
Steve S. September 06, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I believe the are handling the case properly....now. My question is that if she was cited on Monday for DUI, awaiting further info or whatever, why was she not arrested at that moment by the PD? People are taken into custody for even trivial things and released once investigations are complete. I cannot imagine a scenario like this where unless the driver was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries, that she would not be arrested for the DUI and need to post bond. It seems unheard of, even if someone is picked up on suspicion of a crime, they are held, here we have a dead body, and admitted perpetrator, and a citation given the day of the accident with no arrest. I BELIEVE THIS IS THE QUESTION THAT EVERYONE ULTIMATELY WANTS ANSWERED. If anyone knows it, please inform the rest of us.
Steve S. September 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
That's my question, was she arrested on Monday? There was no report of it, only a citation of DUI. I think that is what everyone is so upset about.
In but not Of HP September 06, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Why are you surprised? After we moved to Highland Park, we expressed our wonder that, at least according to the police blotter in the paper, not one non-Hispanic named person with a Highland Park address has ever been arrested for drunk driving, although numerous Hispanics and many people with North Chicago and Waukegan addresses seemed to be constantly picked up. A friend advised us that, if you are lawyered up, one phone call keeps your name out of the public record. If there was indeed a charge on Monday, you can believe that call was made. The difference in this case was the death of an innocent child and the presence of multiple witnesses. And, while the cash contributions to the family are laudable and no doubt heartfelt, before anyone strains a shoulder muscle patting themselves on the back about the generous community support, lets keep in mind that the car involved in the accident costs more than the amount raised (at least to date) and it will no doubt be replaced long before the financial costs to this family have been fully met, and their emotional well-being can never be restored. For another measure of where community feeling lies, there was this conversation overheard at a supermarket near the accident site: "Did you hear about the accident?" "Yes, wasn't it awful?" "That poor girl -- she'll have to live with this memory." "How terrible for her." Conversation moved to another topic.
Longtime HP Resident September 06, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I find it interesting that the Mayor does not make ONE mention of the HP Police in her letter. They did have the time and the right to ticket this person AND hold her for 24 hrs. Additionally, they can up the charges after the original ticket. I do not see that this is being mentioned. However, this town has become so political it is ridiculous. I once had an officer tell me that he had to move from a location where he was giving tickets because too many people called the station to complain.
Longtime HP Resident September 06, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I love your "screen name". I was born and raised in this town almost 50 yrs. ago and boy has it changed. Much of it is the attitude of the people and they have passed it on to their children. My husband and some of my neighbors refuse to shop at Sunset foods due to the elitist attitude of the people in this town.
forest barbieri September 06, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Perhaps you missed the DUI for the Mayor Of Highwood late last year or the President of Ravinia a few weeks ago. Not sure why the cost of the vehicle is an issue in any sense? If it cost less would it have caused less tragedy? Again, I just cannot imagine such a loss or the lifelong emotional struggle for a parent to live with this. Heartbreaking. Supermarket talk: Reminds me of a saying we coined in our Russia offices. "anyone can buy a Mercedes but you can not buy class"!
Daniel September 06, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I agree Ellen. My guess is that she did it all for political reasons. She is a big supporter of Chris Kennedy who is running for Lake County States Attorney.
Theodore Perez September 06, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Lou, The driver walked free from the hospital without even having to post bail. That is wrong. The Rousso family must also know that. We should all acknowledge that. How that happened is a big question. That is either a big miss by our HP PD or the work of a family that could through its association with city leaders, gain leniency. I suspect some of both. I have spoken to many today about this in the Hispanic community. They share this outlook. Carly reversed after the initial hit and drove over the family in an attempt to flee. To me that is an indication of attempting to flee and cause malice. It is grounds for the person to be held - period! How does a person get to leave for home after that? - The influence of the family and the bowing of our city leaders and HP PD to such influence. We should not tolerate leaders in our community that do not do the right thing. The HP PD failed. I believe the police showed preferential treatment to the Rousso family.
Walter White September 06, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I don't understand how you can hit someone with the front of your car and also hit them again when in reverse. Can you explain that in more detail?
Steve S. September 06, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Completely inaccurate, there are non-latinos listed every week including this week and no lawyer or bribe can keep a name out of the blotter public record. It certainly has been attempted and I know of numerous instances myself, but they are always printed. They will also NOT retract any of the records if the people are found to be not-guilty. So guilty or not, it's always there.
Steve S. September 06, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Agree, and wouldn't it be the decision of the officer on the scene to make the arrest and not the state's attorney?
Longtime HP Resident September 06, 2012 at 08:14 PM
And did you notice, Daniel, that it took her two days to write this letter. I believe it was done when she realized how unpopular the "non-booking / non ticketing" situation was.
Walter White September 06, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Yes, and she made sure she put the spotlight on the states attorney to downplay the role of her own PD who is just as much to blame if not more.
Lou September 06, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Mr. Perez, the entire community is in grief, we wish this did not occur. No matter how upset you are, consider the following. DUI includes alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs taken with OR without an Rx from a doctor and combinations of the above, Yes, a legal Rx that produces drowsiness can be a cause of an arrest for DUI. If someone is under the influence of a drug, it is quite difficult to assess immediately. Blood, urine, saliva and/or hair analysis is needed. If that was the case, samples would have been taken and an arrest made later. No doctor or policeman can determine for sure if someone is under the influence of cocaine for example immediately. There can be suspicions made from examination of eye movements and pupil responses, but those are merely educated guesses. Chemical tests are needed. In the end, an arrest was made but no one knows which substance was found. It may be a legal Rx that the driver was just started on. We all need to be patient and let this unfold. In the end, let's hope the greater community learns from this tragedy because it seems that the North Shore is awash in drugs and alcohol.
Ed Brill September 06, 2012 at 10:24 PM
If the driver was ticketed by the Highland Park Police on Monday, as per http://highlandpark.patch.com/articles/rousso-cited-with-dui-days-before-her-name-was-released , why was this a State's Attorney issue?
Longtime HP Resident September 06, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Let's take that thought further - why did NO ONE in any sort of capacity in HP release the name and or ticket information? Why did the HP Patch take the name down when one person posted it? Why did it take the Mayor (for whom I voted and like) take two days to write a letter and still not reprimand her PD? What is with the preferential treatment for this driver?
Steve S. September 06, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Exactly!!! That is the question that needs to be answered.
Katie O'Meara September 06, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Lou, Don't you think it was a poor choice of the Rousso's to give their daughter acess to a vehicle when they knew she had a substance abuse problems? She didn't buy that car on her own and I would bet she didn't pay for the insurance on it either.
Joe Wallace September 07, 2012 at 02:04 AM
the fix is in . . .
Joe Wallace September 07, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Thank you Mayor Rotering for saying what needed to be said.
Terry Mac September 07, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I bet she was high on x or something..........very sad,they gave her a break,you don't give breaks when people die.....period.
Bob Haney September 07, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Walter, you run over the person leaving them behind you. Now you go in reverse to get away and run over them again. Is it really that hard to understand?
Jeff C. September 07, 2012 at 05:43 AM
This isnt your typical DUI. Your completely wrong she was charged right away and she was printed and photographed and bonded out. You all need to stop talking so much sh**t because you don't know what the hell your talking about.
Jeff C. September 07, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Extremely unprofessional statement by the mayor. Why do Highland Park residents think they are so special that they get special treatment. This case is being handled in the same manner as all others with similar circumstances. So its ok for cases in other towns to be handled one way but Highland Park is so special that we get special rules and special treatment even though it may jeopardize the case in court if they don't wait to see what was actually in her blood.
Walter White September 07, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Doesn't agree with the eye witness reports.
Lou September 07, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Katie, I have been hit four times by drunk drivers.The last time was in July, he was a 3rd time DUI! The prior crash knocked my family off a highway.DUI surrounds us.Over the years, I realized my anger toward these anesthetized drivers was a total waste of my energy and sleep, the BEST solution to the nation's drunk driving problem is to attempt to prevent DUI.A combination of education, massive publicity about substances, rehabilitation, and a guarantee of LOSS of driving privileges for a LONG time is the solution.Government's efforts should be directed toward the millions of drivers who could drink at any bar, home, golf course or you name it.As most drivers DENY in their minds that they could cause a death, telling them over and over again that they could kill is a total waste of time.Speeding could also kill, but look at how many pass you at 80 mph, texting or talking.Young drivers especially are quite resistant to anything an adult says, so a better way to reach those fun loving minds is to promise them a guarantee to RESCIND their driver's license if they ever drive under the influence. And make that loss of license for 10 years. And make it real.That will get the attention of ALL drivers, young ones in particular, "Like dude, how will I date if I don't have the keys?" Each potential DUI driver must expect loss of license, that is the best way to reduce the # of DUI deaths.I wish this tragedy in HP never occurred,there are way too many DUI drivers out there, I know.
overtheblueline September 11, 2012 at 01:18 AM
They already did


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