Hit-and-Run Victim Wakes Up

The perpetrator, Erin Hughes, is leaving jail today

The 16-year-old girl who was critically injured in a hit-and-run incident by a New Trier High School senior, is improving, her family says.

“My baby is on her way back,” Sarah Goone’s mother wrote in a post on the family’s Caringbridge.org blog. “She leaned on me and I said  ‘I love you’  she said ‘love you too’ and I cried.”

Doctors removed a ventilator tube early Wednesday and the girl tried to speak immediately, but her speech was mumbled. 

Goone has been in the hospital since Friday when she was hit crossing Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue after leaving a school function. Doctors performed surgery to reduce swelling on her brain and she’s been unresponsive since the accident.

Her mother is taking her attempts at speech and movement as a good sign.  

“Sarah is now off the vent tube and sleeping quietly next to me,” she writes. “Her eyelid swelling is really going down and my little Sarah's face is slowly reemerging.”

In the meantime, the girl who is responsible for her condition, Erin Hughes, has been released from Cook County Jail and is being tranported to her home in Winnetka after an anonymous donor posted the $50,000 bond necessary for her release.

She left in a squad car, and wore an ankle monitor.

Jack Levin, Hughes’ attorney, said a donor offered to pay the bail under the condition that she remain anonymous. The Hughes family does not know the donor who is described as a sympathetic mother, he said.

Hughes was held in the Cermak Hospital on the jail grounds, but not in the general population.

Sheriff spokesman Steve Patterson said no one asked for special treatment for the girl and that she was placed at the hospital for the sheriff’s own “protective” reasons. He said he was disappointed in Judge Orr’s decision to set such a high bond after learning that the girl admitted to smoking marijuana. 

The 18-year-old Hughes was not given any special treatment when leaving the jail, Patterson said.

"She will go through the release and electronic monitoring process like anyone else," he said.

Officers are working to establish a phone line at her home that will work with the monitoring device.

Hughes' next hearing will be Thursday. Levin said he anticipates she will be placed under some sort of supervision, and he hopes she will be permitted to leave her house. Levin hopes to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

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