Dad of Ariel Russo shocked at teen driver’s defense in fatal accident

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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.

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