Family files suit over kindergartner’s death
Updated: November 19, 2012 1:35AM
Modesta Sacramento Jimenez had to watch her 5-year-old daughter get run over by a car twice, according to the attorney who is representing her in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The driver of the vehicle, Carly Rousso, of Highland Park has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, both felonies.
Rousso, 18, is accused of driving her Lexus coupe while under the influence of Difluoroethane onto the sidewalk on Central Avenue in downtown Highland Park where Modesta was walking her three young children on Labor Day. The compound has a euphoric effect when inhaled.
Modesta and two of her children survived the incident. Jaclyn Santos Sacramento, a kindergarten student, did not.
“Imagine watching your child crushed under the wheels of a car — twice,” said attorney Bob Baizer of Highland Park. “She was helpless to do anything to save her only daughter. I shudder to think how she can deal with this going forward.”
Jaclyn’s parents seek damages in excess of $50,000 against Rousso, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Baizer in Lake County Circuit Court.
Rousso drove onto the sidewalk, crushed the 5-year-old and then drove back over her, Baizer said. Rousso was ready to move the car again when a 17-year-old Deerfield High School senior opened the car door and removed the keys, Baizer said.
“She was driving back and forth. He (the senior) hung onto the car and pulled the keys out,” Baizer said. “Who knows where she would have driven next?”
Highland Park police could not confirm Baizer’s account of the accident. A Lake County judge signed an order earlier this week restricting the release of further information about the case following a media Freedom of Information Act request for reports and video from the incident.
According to the Highland Park police accident narrative, a vehicle noted as Unit No. 1 veered across the westbound lanes of Central Avenue, drove over the parkway located on the north side of Central Avenue, and struck four pedestrians as they were walking along the sidewalk. Unit No. 1, Rousso’s Lexus, continued in a northeastern direction in the parking lot, struck a sign, then struck the west side, then reversed direction and struck one or more of the pedestrians a second time, the accident narrative states.
Modesta and her sons were hospitalized after the Sept. 3 incident. All have been released from the hospital, Baizer said. The mother has a broken arm, bruising and facial scarring, he said.
“All have horrific emotional scars that they will be getting lots of counseling and therapy for. They all witnessed the little girl getting run over twice,” Baizer said.
Brian Ebener of Chicago-based firm Smith Amundsen represents Rousso. The civil case is due in court Dec. 6.
The Rousso family had no comment regarding the civil case, according to family spokesman James Terman. Rousso demands a jury trial for the civil case, according to court documents filed by Ebener.
Rousso is due back in court Oct. 9 for the felony charges. She is represented by defense attorney Doug Zeit of Waukegan.
Rousso is free from Lake County Jail after posting 10 percent of $500,000 bond, according to jail records.
Rousso was a plaintiff in a civil case filed Sept. 1, 2009, after she was attacked by a pit bull while at a friend’s Highland Park residence on May 1, 2009, according to court documents.
Rousso, who was 14 at the time of the dog attack, sustained “multiple facial and bodily wounds which required surgery, as well as psychological trauma,” according to court documents.
Rousso was awarded a $200,000 settlement July 19, 2011, court documents show.