Fatal 'huffing' DUI charges to be dropped?
Suspect's attorneys question constitutionality of charges
A prosecuting attorney told HLN Wednesday that the fate of an Illinois teenager accused of running over and killing a 5-year-old girl may be in limbo after her attorneys questioned the constitutionality of the charges.
Carly Rousso, 19, is charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating compounds and two counts of reckless homicide in connection with the death of 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos Sacramento. Rousso's attorneys filed a motion on September 18 requesting that the charges against her be dropped because the chemical she was allegedly huffing is not specified as an intoxicant under Illinois law.
Court documents state that Sacramento was walking with her mother and two siblings on a Highland Park sidewalk when she was run over by a car allegedly driven by Rousso on September 3, 2012. The child's mother and one of her brothers suffered great bodily injury in the crash.
Rousso pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was released from jail after her family posted a $500,000 bond.
Attorneys for the state of Illinois say that Rousso was under the influence of difluoroethane, a substance allegedly contained in a product used to clear dust and debris from computers and other similar devices, when she allegedly hit and killed the 5-year-old girl, according to the motion filed by Rousso's attorney Douglas Zeit on September 18. The motion specifically refers to the "Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act," which defines intoxicating compounds and prohibits the use of 15 specifically enumerated substances.
"The State does not and cannot contend that difluoroethane is listed as a prohibited substance under the Act. Hence, unless the State can somehow pigeonhole difluoroethane into some other part of the Act, the charges against the defendant must be dismissed," the motion states.
Assistant State Attorney Michael Ori told HLN Wednesday that the defense motion to dismiss charges could cause a significant delay in the trial.
After the motion was filed, Lake County Circuit Court Judge James Booras pushed Rousso's trial date back from September 27 to November 1.
According to online court records, a settlement was reached May 7 in a civil case against Rousso filed by the Sacramento family, which sought damages in excess of $50,000. The Lake County Clerk of Courts told HLN the settlement agreement is sealed.
Rousso faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in the Department of Corrections if convicted. If the motion filed by Rousso's attorney is successful, her possible sentence would be reduced significantly.
HLN's repeated attempts to reach Zeit for further information were unsuccessful.
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