Human error and not 911 failure behind Ariel Russo’s death: city investigation

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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.