Cops await toxicology results for driver in fatal Highland Park crash

Chicago Tribune

As police continued to investigate the crash that claimed the life this week of a 5-year-old girl walking with her family on a Highland Park sidewalk, the girl's two brothers, ages 4 and 2, were released from a hospital on Tuesday while her mother's condition was listed as fair.

 Highland Park police identified the mother as Modesta Sacramento, 25, of Highland Park. She is recuperating at Evanston Hospital, where her daughter, Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, was taken after the accident at about 2:30 p.m. on Monday. The girl died at about 5 p.m. that day, according to police.

 Relatives of the girl remained too grief-stricken on Tuesday to speak about accident.

 "We're just so upset at this tragedy," said a man who was reached at a phone number associated with Modesto Sacramento and who identified himself as a relative. "The family cannot talk right now."

 Police released few more details of their investigation.

 Lake County Assistant State's Atty. Ken LaRue said blood samples from the driver, identified by police as an 18-year-old woman from Highland Park, have been sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab. No charges had been filed by Tuesday evening. The driver was the vehicle's only occupant, police said.

 "We're certainly looking at the possibility impairment was involved here," said Highland Park Deputy Police Chief George Pfutzenreuter. "You don't just throw the charges at somebody until you get all the evidence back."

 After striking the family, at some point the vehicle moved backward, possibly striking one of the victims again, according to the deputy chief.

 A 17-year-old Deerfield High School student told the Tribune he was with his mother pulling out of the Sunset Food parking lot when they turned onto Central Avenue and saw a woman in a black Lexus cut across two lanes of traffic and strike the family.

 The teen said he saw the vehicle back over the family after the initial crash. Then the car slowly rolled toward them again, and he said he put himself between the car and the people who were injured on the ground.

 "I pushed as hard as I could," he said. "The little boy had blood running down his face, the little girl was ominously silent and the mother was wailing on her cell phone."

 "This is a tragedy," he added. "This young girl who hadn't hurt a fly in her whole life; her life was cut short."

 While others at the scene were hopeful the girl would survive, the teen said he knew in his heart that her injuries were grave.

 "I knew this entire family's life had been shattered," he said.

 Jeff Danna is a Tribune reporter; Susan Berger is a freelance writer.

 Tribune reporter Ellen Hirst and freelancer writer Ruth Fuller contributed



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