Teen driver in Upper West Side crash freed on bail

Franklin Reyes, 17, allegedly struck and killed 4-year-old Ariel Russo near this Upper West Side intersection. Credit: Google Maps
Franklin Reyes, 17, allegedly struck and killed 4-year-old Ariel Russo near this Upper West Side intersection. Credit: Google Maps

The teenage driver who struck and killed a 4-year-old girl on the Upper West Side earlier this month was freed on bail on Thursday.

Franklin Reyes, 17, was released from Rikers Island on $25,000 cash bail, NBC New York reports. The bail was originally set for $50,000, but a new judge lowered it on Thursday, noting that Reyes has strong community ties.

“My daughter’s dead, and this guy, he’s free,” said Alan Russo, Ariel Russo’s father, after the bail hearing. “He’s going to have summer. He’s going to be home. He’s going to play video games. He’s going to eat his mom’s home-cooked food. I’m never going to have my daughter back.”

The unlicensed teen allegedly hit Ariel and her grandmother on June 4 on his way to school. Reyes was driving his parents’ SUV when he allegedly tried to flee police officers who had pulled him over for reckless driving. Reyes then allegedly jumped a curb, pinning Ariel and her grandmother.

Ariel’s grandmother was seriously injured and just released from the hospital this week.

Reyes was ordered not to drive while he is out on bail. He is due back in court on August 7.


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