Highland Park - Years before, the driver was a victim of a pit bull attack that left her with scars, psychological problems and marijuana use
Carly Rousso said she was afraid to sleep. After the Highland Park teenager was attacked by a pit bull three years ago, she had frequent nightmares in which an animal — often a dog but always something with teeth — would attack her.
She switched schools; her grades fell. She reported hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, according to court records filed in a lawsuit against the pit bull's owner.
Last week, Rousso, 18, was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of an intoxicating compound after a crash that killed a 5-year-old girl in Highland Park and injured her mother and two brothers.
On Tuesday — the same day the funeral was held for the girl, Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento — Rousso was briefly jailed before she was released on bond with a curfew and an agreement not to drive or consume any intoxicants. During a court appearance, her lawyer also revealed that she is receiving outpatient treatment, though he did not specify for what.
But court records reveal that Rousso has had past struggles with substance use and emotional problems that stretch back years. Her family claimed in a lawsuit against the pit bull owner responsible for her attack that the attack led to many of her troubles. She also was later cited for marijuana possession and as a result participated in a 12-step rehab program, court records show. The information gathered from court records reveals a more complex portrait of the woman charged in the Labor Day crash.
Through a family spokesman, Rousso's parents declined to comment about the pit bull attack or their daughter's past struggles.
On May 1, 2009, Rousso was visiting a friend's home in Highland Park when a pit bull her friend's brother was walking on a leash suddenly attacked her without provocation, according to the lawsuit.
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