A Palatine woman who “huffed” fumes from a cleaning product while driving and seriously injured two people after she passed out and struck another car was sentenced to 5 years in prison this morning.
Karli Casey, 20, pleaded guilty at the Rolling Meadows branch of Cook County Circuit to aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating compounds, a special Class 4 felony.
“I want to apologize to the families of the victims,” Casey told the court. “I’m sorry.”
Judge Ellen Beth Mandeltort told Casey she would have to serve 85 percent of the sentence, minus the 257 days she has been in jail since the April 28, 2012 crash in Palatine. Casey could have received up to 12 years in prison, Mandeltort said.
The charges against her were upgraded after blood tests found that she also had codeine, heroin and cocaine in her system, prosecutors said.
Casey, of the 300 block of North Benton Street, inhaled the fumes from a can of “Dust Off” while driving at night on Northwest Highway near First Bank Drive, said Assistant State’s Atty. Mike Gerber.
In another high-profile “huffing” case, Carly Rousso, 18, of Highland Park, has pleaded not guilty to the same type of DUI charge after investigators alleged she inhaled fumes from a cleaning product before crashing into a mother walking with her children in Highland Park on Labor Day, killing a 5-year-old girl.
Gerber said Casey passed out, crossed the lanes of traffic and struck the other vehicle head-on, causing her car to flip onto its roof. The crash injured the two passengers in her car and an 84-year-old woman and her son in the other car. The elderly woman was critically hurt and spent several months in the hospital, Gerber said.
She now needs 24-hour care, Gerber said. Her son also was hospitalized with fractured ribs and was released after treatment, he said.
One of the passengers in Casey's car suffered a lacerated spleen and fractured pelvis, among other injuries, Gerber said.
Casey was taken to Northwest Memorial Hospital where she regained consciousness and told investigators she had inhaled from the Dust Off can and passed out, Gerber said.
He said Dust Off is compressed air used to clean computers and other devices.
Casey has been in a special drug treatment program in Cook County jail and her attorney, Wayne Brucar, asked Mandeltort to recommend that she receive treatment while in prison. Mandeltort agreed to the request.
Friends and family seated in the gallery told her they loved her as deputies stood on either side of her.
“I love you, too,” she replied, weeping as she was led from the courtroom.
Neither family commented following the hearing.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times