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Marchers seek ‘justice for an angel’

Highwood  Thursday  9/6/12

Thirteen-year-old Judy Rodriguez Highwood holds banner before Thursday's memorial march for 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos-Sacramenwho died after

Highwood Thursday, 9/6/12 Thirteen-year-old, Judy Rodriguez, of Highwood holds a banner before Thursday's memorial march for 5-year-old, Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, who died after being struck by a car while walking on a sidewalk in Highland Park Monday. The girl's mother and two siblings were also injured in the crash. The car's driver, Carly A. Rousso, 18, of Highland Park has been cited with driving under the influence of an intoxicating compound. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

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White balloons filled the streets and then floated toward the sky in Highland Park and Highwood Thursday night as hundreds of marchers made a pilgrimage to the site where a 5-year-old girl was allegedly fatally struck by a teen driver.

On Monday, the girl, Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, of Highland Park, was walking with her family when they were struck by a vehicle in Highland Park.

“We feel so bad this has happened and we really don’t feel that justice has been served yet,” said Susan Holtzman, a Highland Park resident who participated in the march. “We really believe the driver should have been taken into custody.”

A half-dozen girls carried a banner with Jaclyn’s photo that read, “Justice for this angel.” Many marchers also simply wanted to show support for the girl’s family, recognizing the tragedy could have claimed one of their own children.

Carly A. Rousso, 18, of the 2500 block of Woodpath Lane in Highland Park, was driving a Lexus coupe east in the 700 block of Central Avenue when the vehicle crossed the westbound lanes and struck Jaclyn, her mother and two younger brothers, police said.

Rousso was cited Monday with driving under the influence of an intoxicating compound, a misdemeanor. She may face additional charges pending further investigation and toxicology tests. Jaclyn’s father, Tomas Santos de Jesus, said his family is “grateful for the outpouring of support from the community after this unbearable tragedy. We have been treated with considerable compassion and respect by everyone including the Highland Park Police Department, and we are confident that our family will ultimately receive justice.”

Rousso’s family also issued statement.

“We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the entire Santos-Sacramento family,” said Carly’s parents, Gabrielle and David Rousso. “Our hearts go out to them for the devastating loss of their beautiful daughter and sister Jaclyn. Words cannot possibly express our sorrow at this unimaginable tragedy. And they remain in our thoughts and prayers during this heartbreaking time.”

Gabrielle Rousso is executive director of the Highland Park Art Center and David Rousso is on the center’s board of directors.

On Wednesday, Highland Park officials expressed frustration with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office for perceived delays in completing the investigation and bringing charges as appropriate.

“Without this vital next step, due process cannot proceed and our community cannot begin to work through this tragedy,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said Wednesday. She on Wednesday criticized the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office for “releasing the driver with no restrictions.”

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller said he was “puzzled” by the letter issued by the Highland Park mayor two days after the fatal accident.

“This investigation by police is still ongoing. We have not been asked to approve more serious charges,” Waller said Thursday, pointing out that investigations of this magnitude can take several weeks.

Schwarz said the department has asked the state crime lab to expedite the processing of the laboratory tests, but noted that it can take up to three months to obtain toxicology results.

“We’re hoping for another week and a half if we’re lucky. That could be unrealistic,” Schwarz said.

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