Family of girl killed in crash to sue city over 911 delay

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 7.31.28 AM
Ariel Russo, 4, was struck near this intersection when a driver who was fleeing a traffic stop jumped the curb on June 4. Russo’s grandmother was also injured in the crash. (Image via Google Maps)

The family of a 4-year-old girl who was struck and killed by an unlicensed motorist on the Upper West Side earlier this month is preparing to file a $40 million lawsuit against the city and emergency responders, The Daily News reports.

Ariel Russo died on June 4 after she was struck by an SUV driven by a teen who was fleeing a traffic stop. Russo’s grandmother remains in the hospital with injuries from the crash.

“It took them too long to get there,” Sofia Russo, Ariel’s mom, told The News. “No other child should die because it takes too long. The ambulance system has to be fixed for the children of New York.”

Records show that it took four minutes and 18 seconds before EMS responders were dispatched to the scene, according to The News. It took another three minutes and 52 seconds before the ambulance reached the location of the accident.

Notices of claim will be filed on Wednesday.

“This is a terrible tragedy which never should have happened,” Attorneys Sanford Rubenstein and Ira Newman said in a statement. “We intend to hold accountable all those responsible civilly, and the family is fully cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.”

The filing is expected to name the FDNY, the NYPD, EMS and the owners of the crash vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle, 17-year-old Franklin Reyes, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. The teen had reportedly taken his mother’s car without her permission and was on his way to St. Agnes Boys High School where he is a student.

Reyes was fleeing a traffic stop when he jumped the curb at Amsterdam Avenue and West 97th Street and struck Ariel and her grandmother.

The 911 system, which debuted just two weeks ago, has been under fire by critics. It is expected to be the subject of a City Council hearing on Monday.

The FDNY said the delay was caused by human error when a dispatcher missed the call, and it was not caused by any problems with the system.


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