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SUV mows down girl, grandmother on UWS


An out -of-control SUV mowed down a 4-year-old girl and her grandmother on the Upper West Side Tuesday afternoon, according to police.  The girl was pronounced dead, while her grandmother, who was pinned against a wall, was in critical condition.

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UPPER WEST SIDE (PIX11) - Ariel Russo’s parents have said all along they blame the city for her death on an Upper West Side street corner this past June.

But a new City Department of Investigation report gets more specific – pointing not to a computer or system glitch,but old-fashioned human error.

“If someone is hit, the call just can’t be waiting there for four minutes because someone is not doing their job,” said Russo.

The report states the fast paced relay desk where veteran dispatcher Edna Pringle was stationed, first received information about Ariel Russo less than a minute after she was mowed down by a teenager who lost control of his SUV while fleeing police.

But stated she “did not take steps to view and process the incident” and instead  “went on a break while the notification about the Ariel incident was still pending.”

Furthermore, the report also faults Pringle’s lieutenant, who “took no supervisory action when the call was visible on the screen for approximately four minutes.”

At issue is the length of time it took to dispatch an advanced life support ambulance – which is legally able to intubate a patient.

“It breaks my heart to know that advanced life support that she needed for her passage ways to breath – that it was not sent out, and that she was waiting for it for almost ten minutes,” said Rubenstein.

Rubenstein added, “the advanced life support ambulance was delayed by four minutes because of the failure of the employee responsible for it to be looking at that screen!”

But this story is not that cut and dry – because the reliability of the city’s newly-revamped 911 system was called into question prior to the Russo incident.

“Well I talked to my dispatcher, and . . .  she reiterates to me that there was nothing on the screen that day,” said Local 2507 President Israel Miranda.  The president of the union that represents dispatcher Pringle still maintains that the system failed to display a notification that little Ariel was critically injured.

“To portray this member like she may have intentionally did this, and she’s responsible for this child’s death – which is unfortunate, it’s really a bad picture to paint, because she was not driving the car.  The question should be, why were they chasing this car — (teen driver Franklin Reyes) was a non-felon — through the middle of the streets of Manhattan during rush hour while children are going to school. In my opinion, I believe her that it wasn’t on her screen. She had no reason not to dispatch it if it were on her screen,” said Miranda.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s Department of Investigation says a 911 dispatcher’s oversight caused a four-minute lag in processing calls to rush an ambulance to the scene of a car crash where a 4-year-old girl was crushed to death.

Thursday’s report echoes what the Fire Department has said about the case of Ariel Russo.

The investigation department report says police radio calls for an ambulance were promptly routed to the emergency medical system. But it says the dispatcher didn’t act on the information for four minutes, then took a break. A colleague relieved her and saw the call.

The dispatcher has said the call wasn’t in the system or she didn’t see it.

The report notes that a passing firefighter and a flagged-down ambulance attended to Ariel before the dispatched ambulance arrived.

NEW YORK (PIX11) - Mayor Bloomberg signed a new bill Tuesday named after young Ariel Russo, who died tragically in a hit-and-run.

Russo was the 4-year-old girl killed in June when an SUV – whose teen driver was fleeing police — jumped the curb and hit her and her grandmother.

Russo’s parents were on hand at City Hall for the bill signing. The new legislation requires the city to measure ambulance response times from the moment a 911 call is placed.

Records show there was a four-minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to the Upper West Side street where Russo was.


NEW YORK (PIX11) – The City Council has passed an emergency response bill in honor of a little girl who was killed by an SUV driven by an unlicensed teen driver.

Four-year-old Ariel Russo was walking to school with her grandmother, when Franklin Reyes.

There was a four-minute delay in dispatching an ambulance.

This bill tightens up how emergency response times are reported.

The teen charged with hitting and killing four-year-old Ariel Russo on the Upper West Side now has a new defense strategy.

17-year-old Franklin Reyes is now blaming the accident on potholes and the little girls parents are outraged.

Ariel’s father, Alan Russo and the family attorney Sanford Rubenstein sat down with the Morning News to discuss the shocking and disturbing defense.

Reyes’ attorney, Martin Schmukler, said Wednesday he is seeking road work records to help argue street conditions factored into the deadly crash on w. 97th Street near Amsterdam Avenue in June.

Reyes was driving without a license and fleeing from the police when he struck little Ariel and her grandmother.

Russo said when he heard Reyes’ new defense, he felt like they were spitting in his face.

 The 27-year-old father said while Reyes is free on $25,000 bail and will be home for Christmas, he will be without his daughter.

 This isn’t the first time Schmukler has placed the blame on someone other than the driver.

During Reyes’ arraignment, Schmukler said Russo would still be alive if the NYPD hadn’t chased his client.

 Reyes is charged with killing 4-year-old ariel russo and severely injuring her grandmother, katia gutierrez, when he crashed a car into them on the upper west side.

 Reyes has been charged with manslaughter, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, leaving the scene of an incident and unlicensed driving

 Prosecutors previously recommended a maximum sentence of five to 15 years but Reyes’ attorney rejected the deal.

A teen driver is trying to blame potholes for the crash that killed four-year-old Ariel Russo.

17-year-old Franklin Reyes was running from police when his SUV jumped a curb and and hit the little girl and her grandmother on the Upper West Side back in June.

In court Wednesday, Reyes’ attorney said that going over a pothole would explain why the SUV lost control.

Reyes was driving without a license at the time of the accident.

Sofia Russo’s story is one no parent should ever have to tell.

But her daughter, four-year-old Ariel is one step closer to being memorialized, thanks in part to an impassioned address in front of Community Board 7 Wednesday night.

“It’s really important to me because I feel like it will illuminate this corner that is so dark for so many of us,” said Sofia Ariel.

The unanimous vote involved renaming the intersection of 97 Street and Amsterdam Avenue “Ariel Russo Way.”

The vote was unanimous.

“I thought it was very touching, very warm, very heartfelt. I have a daughter. It could have been my daughter. It was a no brainer for me,” said Community Board member Isaac Booker.

The little girl’s grandmother was walking her to school back in June, when 17-year-old Franklyn Reyes plowed into them while trying to get away from police at the corner.

Making matters worse, there’s an ongoing investigation into a four-minute delay to dispatch the ambulance.

“We haven’t gotten any answers as to why there was a four-minute delay. Why did they have to chase this kid? It’s everybody’s fault. I’m not going to take the heat off of him and say it’s all the NYPD’s fault. It’s the combination of everything,” said Ariel’s father Alan.

Convincing the community board to vote in favor of renaming the scene of the crash in honor of little Ariel is clearly an important victory for her parents. But the fight is not over, and it will end in a courtroom.

Defense Attorney Sanford Rubenstein is representing the family in a civil suit against the city.

“They were chasing, at a high speed, in a school zone. This should not be happening at all in the city. This is reckless. Another thing, the ambulance was not dispatched for four minutes. That is unacceptable,” said Rubenstein.

Meantime, Sofia says she is still in mourning, says she is still counting on her community for emotional support.

“I just can’t stop saying that I feel like my community is letting us lean on them. Like, literally, the song, “Lean on me”, that they’re there for us in this time, when we’re not strong,” said Sofia.

The family says its hopeful the community board’s unanimous vote will send a strong message to the city council, which is expected to vote on the resolution.

(PIX11) – Ariel Russo’s grandmother, Katia Guttierez, saw the man accused of taking her granddaughter’s life for the first time in court Wednesday.

The grandmother was hysterical when she came face-to-face with the driver.

“It felt terrible,” said a tearful Gutierrez about seeing Franklin Reyes. “This person has no idea – he just has no idea the chaos and the pain he has caused this family and I feel he needs to pay.”

The same accident that killed Ariel put Katia in the hospital for three weeks. Though she has attended physical therapy four days a week, she still appeared in court in a wheelchair and a leg brace.

Police say the 58-year-old was walking with her granddaughter to school on the Upper West Side when Reyes, 17, ran into them in his SUV. He was fleeing police when he slammed into little Ariel. He only had a learner’s permit, and was not allowed to drive alone.

Reyes faces a manslaughter charge in the 4-year old’s death.

Reyes’ defense attorney is looking for a plea deal on the manslaughter charge, but Ariel’s mom says it wouldn’t be fair.

Others, including the Russo’s lawyer, say it’s an outrage and that “only the maximum sentence is appropriate for this defendant.”

CITY HALL (PIX11) — It was only a few weeks ago when the city held a hearing to figure out what caused the four minute delay for an ambulance to get to Ariel Russo, the 4-year-old girl killed by an SUV driven by an unlicensed teen driver trying to flee from cops.

At that hearing, the city pushed the blame on “human error,” saying the computer system only had a few minor issues.

Now, the city is changing their tune completely.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway admitted to the Daily News that 4,100 calls to 911 between June 27 and July 7 showed conflicting phone numbers or locations and that there has been a huge spike in garbled calls.

Ariel Russo’s family is suing the city for $40 million in damages.

The FDNY is also conducting their own internal investigation into what happened.