Wilmette teen pleads guilty in hit-and-run crash

August 5, 2010

Erin Hughes, 18, pleaded guilty to one felony count of leaving the scene of an accident and one count of misdemeanor DUI for driving with marijuana in her system.

"I'm grateful to have this new shot at life and being able to go forward," said Hughes, who apologized to the court. A victim impact statement was also read.

The 18-year-old was sentenced to two months probation with drug treatment and will not be allowed to go to college out of state. She will also serve 120 hours of community service at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where the teenager she struck goes to rehab.

Sarah Goone, 16, of Glencoe, suffered a brain injury in that hit-and-run crash on May 14 in Winnetka. Goone is now in outpatient rehab and goes several times a week.

"I'm so sincerely sorry. I didn't take responsibility for my actions at the time, but right now admitting my wrongs is what's important," said Hughes.

Assistant states attorney Diann Sheridan read a statement from the Goone family in court: Sarah is alive today not because of anything Erin Hughes did. Were it not for the very quick response of others Sarah could have died as a result of Erin Hughes' inaction... We understand this was an accident and could have happened to anyone but what Erin did by leaving Sarah laying in the middle of the street was selfish and irresponsible.

Hughes said she had always planned to turned herself in. "All I wanted was my mom. I was just terrified. I wasn't thinking. Obviously, I didn't mean to do this. All I wanted to do was calm down," said Hughes.

Hughes sent a letter to the Goone family, which reads "I feel so much remorse and it saddens me deeply that I am in good health and she is on a long road to recovery. I apologize to her and all of you for the incredible amount of grief I have caused."

"From the moment she walked in the door, it was like, 'How's Sarah?' What's gonna happen with Sarah? Is Sarah gonna be ok?" said Barry Spector, defense attorney.

It is still unclear if Goone will recover or have permanent brain damage.

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