A 10-year-old girl suffered minor injuries after being hit by an allegedly drunk driver Nov. 20 around 3 p.m. while crossing the street at the Longcommon/Nuttall/Herrick intersection in Riverside. She was coming from school at Central Elementary School.
According to a Riverside police report, witnesses saw the driver, Julia Ann Rastelli, 50 and a Riverside resident, hit the child and drive away from the scene.
Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said in a statement that a crossing guard was in the crosswalk with the child with the stop sign down, but the driver ignored the pedestrian and the guard.
“The child was struck with such force that she rolled over the front of the SUV and landed on the concrete,” Weitzel said.
Police officers, assisted by an off-duty Lyons police officer, found Rastelli in the car on the 300 block of Eastgrove. Her 14-year-old child, who she had just picked up from Riverside-Brookfield High School, was also in the car. When approached by officers, Rastelli reportedly denied hitting someone. The police reported that Rastelli was given a sobriety test, which she failed, and refused to take a portable breath tester.
In addition to being charged with felony aggravated DUI, Rastelli has also been charged with: disobeying a crossing guard while in a marked crosswalk, hit and run personal injury, driving while talking on a cell phone in a school zone, failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, no vehicle insurance and endangering a child’s life.
“This incident and arrest should signal to anyone that believes drunk driving is not a serious crime and just a minor offense that driving while intoxicated is becoming more and more accepted by the general public and our court system, I for one, will not stand for that,” Weitzel said, “and will continue to have my officers adamantly pursue drunk driving arrests.”