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Hundreds Walk to Mourn 5-Year-Old Car Crash Victim

Over 600 people joined a procession from Highwood to Highland Park in memory of Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, 5, who died on Monday when an 18-year-old from Highland Park drove her car onto the sidewalk, hitting Jaclyn, her mother and her two brothers.

When Jasmen Colon decided to do something to honor the memory of Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, , she had a modest goal.

"I wanted to get 10 people going to [the Santos-Sacramentos'] house and sending them flowers," Colon told Patch on Thursday.

Instead, she worked with her friend Tatiana Alonso-Melchor to organize a .

More than 600 people attended.

Surrounded by Highwood and Highland Park politicians like mayors Charlie Pecaro and Nancy Rotering, as well as people from both communities and some that came from Waukegan, North Chicago and even Indiana, Colon said she felt grateful that so many had taken the time to show their support.

"We can do strong things together," she said. "We're hoping [Jaclyn's family] can get through this and know everyone is here for them."

Dressed in white and holding white balloons, the hundreds of attendees began walking at 6 p.m. Many said they were walking to honor Jaclyn's memory, as well as to advocate for justice.

"It's for the family to feel the community is on their side," said Jorge Esquibel, a Highwood resident who was walking with his 12-year-old son, "and to have justice."

The driver of the vehicle that killed Jaclyn and injured her mother and two brothers . Though she was arrested for driving under the influence, she was released on bond soon after. Her first court appearance is Sept. 21.

Many who walked on Thursday said they wished the driver was already in jail.

"She got released without any charges," said Highwood resident Ismael Castrejon. Rousso was cited on Monday, but she posted bail and is home until her trial begins. "It just wasn't right."

Others, like Highland Park City councilmen Paul Frank and Daniel Kaufman, stressed community solidarity and a show of support for Jaclyn's family as their reasons for walking.

"We're a small community, so anytime someone faces a tragedy like this, people try to show support anyway they can," Kaufman said. "We're all mourning the loss."

Frank agreed. 

"We're walking for peace and for hope," he said. "That's a great message for the community."

Emily Lockhead came to the walk all the way from Calumet City, Ind. 

"I have great nieces that are her age," she said. "It just touched my heart."

After the attendees reached the scene, Colon and Alonso-Melchor conducted a short service that included a prayer from Highland Park Police Department Chaplain Scott Baseman, as well as prayers in Spanish.

"Today we are all part of the Santos family," Alonso-Melchor said.

Jaclyn’s father, Tomas Santos de Jesus, told the Highland Park News that 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 , and we are confident that our family will ultimately receive justice.”

, who co-owns the Mexican restaurant in Highland Park, attended Thursday's walk to help "bring awareness and togetherness" to the community. He's been providing Jaclyn's family with food deliveries for the past few days and has seen Jaclyn's mother, who's still in the hospital.

"They're very grateful to the community for the support," Nava said. "This is a spark of light in the middle of the darkness they're going through."

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observer September 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM
In regards to her potentially being on pain mess and having an adverse reaction it doesn't matter. Its still a dui and she should have been forced to remain in custody and post bond like any other dui. The fact that she was released with no cash bond (per hppd own admission in the tribune) is an outrage and is simply unacceptable. That is where the notion of preferential treatment comes into play.
Terry Mac September 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I kinda wondered about her face looking different from other pictures,as in not as pretty,huffing is as unhealthy as you can get,just darn sad.
Chilawyer September 08, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Liar. Any such pit bull attack would have been in the news; it never was.
Ed Brill September 08, 2012 at 11:56 AM
The pit bull attack was in the news. 2009. Her name was not disclosed at the time.
Maya September 08, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Chilawyer the story was in the news. You can still find articles about it and how Mayor Belsky wanted to ban pit bulls.

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