DUI Vehicular Manslaughter Case Facing Questionable Sentencing

19-year-old Carly Rousso was accussed of killing 5-year-old Jaclyn Santos Sacramento while allegedly driving under the influence of inhalants. Previous to driving around in Highland Park, Rousso had used the substance difluoroethane which is used to clear dust. Sacramento, along with her mother and two siblings, had been walking along the sidewalk when Rousso, who was under the influence, ran over Sacramento with her car resulting in her death. Rousso plead not guilty to four counts of aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating compounds and two counts of reckless homicide.

In the past decade, the use of inhalants has increased drastically as a means to get the same high as other drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, especially among the younger generation. These can include sniffing glue or burnt cinnamon. Alternative methods of obtaining similar highs are attractive to the youth because these everyday items are easily accessible and are at a low-cost. Users of inhalants claim that there is no danger to the public when using these substances, which is why they are not regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. However, one teenager learned differently.

Rousso’s attorney made a motion to dismiss the case, as difluoroethane is not a substance listed in the “‘Use of Compounds Act,’ which defines intoxicating compounds and prohibits the use of 15 specifically enumerated substances.” If this motion does not succeed, Rousso faces a maximum sentence of 14 years for all six counts. If the letter of the law must be followed, then the defense may be correct in stating that the compound Rousso used is not included in the list of illegal substances; however, this brings up the question of whether or not the wording of the “Use of Compounds Act” and other similar laws should be altered so that any type of inhalants are included so that people can be charged with DUIs.


“Fatal ‘Huffing’ DUI Charges to be Dropped?”-HLN, September 25, 2013

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