Highland Park huffing case decision delayed until July 10
A Lake County judge will take a week to decide whether a Highland Park teen ruled to be driving under the influence of drugs when she struck and killed a 5-year-old girl was convicted unconstitutionally.
Judge James Booras said "he had a lot to think about" Thursday after prosecutors and a defense attorney argued Carly Rousso's aggravated driving under the influence of an intoxicating compound conviction.
Authorities said Rousso was "huffing" computer dust cleaner while driving her family-owned Lexus east in the 700 block of Central Avenue in Highland Park on Labor Day 2012 when she blacked out, swerved across traffic and hit 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, as well as the girl's mother, and two brothers.
Rousso faces 3 to 14 years in prison after her conviction in May on four counts of aggravated DUI. The law also states a person found guilty of the crime can be sentenced to probation if "extraordinary circumstances" exist.
Rousso previously pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in the same case, and could be sentenced to two to five years on that charge. She remains free on bail despite the conviction while awaiting sentencing, but has relinquished her passport to the court.
Booras set July 10 for his ruling.
Defense attorney Douglas Zeit has long argued that Rousso could not charged with aggravated DUI because the chemicals in the dust cleaner are not officially listed by the state as an intoxicating compound. Zeit is not contesting the reckless homicide charge.
Prosecutors argue there is a "catchall" phrase in the law that allows an aggravated DUI charge when the intoxicating compound in question is not officially recognized in the statute.
If Booras rules in favor of Rousso, the decision would immediately be sent to the Illinois Supreme Court for a final determination. However, should Booras rule against the Highland Park teen, she would be sentenced and her defense could take the dispute to an appellate court.