Accused Huffer Pleads Not Guilty to Fatal Crash

Carly Rousso is accused of driving under the influence when her car crashed into a family on the sidewalk

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Prosecutors say Carly Rousso inhaled dangerous chemicals and drove the family car into a family as they walked on the sidewalk on Labor Day. Kim Vatis reports. (Published Thursday, Oct 18, 2012)

    A Highland Park teen pleaded not guilty Thursday in connection with a Labor Day crash that left a 5-year-old girl dead.

    Carly Rousso, 18, is accused of driving under the influence of a compound commonly found in cleaning products when her car jumped a curb and plowed into a family walking on the sidewalk.

    Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento was killed, and the girl's mother and two brothers were injured in the crash. Rousso was charged with two counts of reckless homicide and four counts of aggravated driving under the influence.

    Rousso remained quiet in court Thursday but appeared very nervous. Her parents were on the edge of their seats as her attorney, Douglas Zeit, entered the plea.

    "It's a horrible tragedy," said Robert Baizer, lawyer for Santos-Sacramento's family. Baizer says it's hard to be sympathetic to Rousso, though.

    "The little boys are OK," he said, noting the real damage is their emotions. 

    Police said toxicology reports showed a compound called Difluoroethane was detected in Rousso's blood. Difluoroethane is commonly found in cleaning air cans, which have been linked to huffing, the practice of inhaling the contents of the cans to get high.

    Her trial date was set for Feb. 1. Lake County Prosecutor Ken Larue said Rousso could face four to 26 years if convicted on all counts.