Father of Girl Killed in Fatal Crash Works in Winnetka
An employee at Trifecta Grill was working when he learned his 5-year-old daughter killed in a Highland Park crash.
The father of the 5-year-old Highland Park girl who was killed Monday by an impaired driver is an employee at Trifecta Grill in Winnetka, and restaurant employees and patrons are stepping up to help during his difficult time.
Thomas Santos de Jesus, a dishwasher at Trifecta, has worked with the restaurant since it opened earlier this year. Business owner Mary O’Neil says Santos learned of his daughter’s death on Monday while working at Trifecta.
“He was here at work when he got the phone call,” O’Neil said. “He reacted as anyone would. Luckily he had one other co-worker here who immediately drove him to the scene.”
The Lexus Coupe involved in the accident was driven by Highland Park’s Carly Rousso, 18, who was charged Wednesday for driving under the influence “of an intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds,” according to a news release from Highland Park City Manager David Knapp.
The fatal crash occurred at 2:30 p.m. on Labor Day and hit a family walking on the sidewalk in the 700 block of Central Ave. Five-year-old Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento was killed, while her mother Modesta Sacramento and younger brothers, 2 and 4 years of age, escaped with non-life threatening injuries.
After Monday’s events unfolded, Trifecta Grill made a small gesture to show Santos the employees, and the Winnetka community, were thinking of him.
“All of our love and prayers go out to Thomas Santos de Jesus (employee of Trifecta Grill) and his family for the tragic loss of his 5-year-old daughter Monday afternoon,” read Trifecta’s Facebook page. “An account will be set up shortly to help with hospital & funeral expenses. Xoxo.”
“All of us at Trifecta Grill, O'Neil's in Winnetka and Little Ricky's Rib Joint are sending love, hugs and peace during this difficult time,” read the updated status message, linking to Jaclyn’s memorial fund. “Click on the link below to donate to the Santos family.”
O’Neil says there are also physical donation boxes set up at Trifecta Grill on Chestnut Street for anyone interested in making a donation.
The major crash assistance team is assembling to diagram what happened and examine Rousso's vehicle. Meanwhile, Lake County Deputy State's Attorney Traffic Division Chief Ken LaRue is waiting on toxicology reports and on phone records to see if Rousso was texting at the time of the crash.
Potential charges include aggravated driving under the influence, which is a class two felony that can lead to a prison sentence of three to 14 years, or reckless homicide, a class three felony that can lead to probation or up to five years in prison.