Family of Ariel Russo plans to sue NYC - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Family of Ariel Russo plans to sue NYC

Posted: Updated:

By JAKE PEARSON

NEW YORK (AP) " The parents of a 4-year-old girl killed in a car crash earlier this month announced plans Wednesday for a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of New York after she and her grandmother were struck by an SUV driven by an unlicensed teen fleeing police.

Sofia and Alan Russo, also said Ariel Russo's grandmother, Katia Gutierrez also plans to file a separate notice of claim for $20 million in damages related to the June 4 accident.

"I did not want to come before the press today," Sofia Russo read from a statement, holding back tears as she spoke. "But I have to communicate that my daughter did not live and die in vain."

A notice of claim, filed with the city's Comptroller, is the first legal step before a lawsuit can be filed against the city. The Russos' notice of claim lists the city, the its police and fire departments and the city's Emergency Medical Services as defendants.

The FDNY referred questions to the city Law Department, which said it hasn't been served yet but will review the claim.

Russo died after a 17-year-old unlicensed driver behind the wheel of his parent's SUV jumped the curb on Manhattan's Upper West Side while fleeing police who were giving chase, police said. The accident occurred at 8:15 a.m. when the car slammed into a restaurant on the ground floor of an apartment building, pinning Ariel Russo and her 58-year-old grandmother.

Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano has since said that while the emergency call came in at 8:15 a.m., a dispatcher left the desk without seeing it " and no one saw it until four minutes later. At that point, an ambulance was dispatched and arrived about four minutes later, 90 seconds slower than usual, according to Cassano.

In the legal papers filed Wednesday, Russo's parents claim the city's 911 system was in part to blame for their daughter's death.

The city has a new 911 system, and part of it has suffered a series of glitches recently that have stalled computers at dispatchers' terminals, at one point for an hour at a time. Cassano has said that wasn't the case here.

But the union that represents emergency medical service workers has said glitches in the 911 system prevented the call from appearing on the dispatcher's screen. Comptroller John Liu said Tuesday his office has started an audit of the 911 system.

The Russos' lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, urged the city and union to "stop pointing fingers." He said that the family plans to file a civil lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan shortly.

"No amount of money can ever take us back to our lives as it was before June 4," said Sofia Russo. "But this law suit can force the city to be more careful and prevent this from happening to anyone else."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

    Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:03 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:03:52 GMT
    For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.  Sixteen percent of adult New Yorkers smoked in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2010, which was the city's lowest recorded rate, according to the findings released by New York City's Department of Health.
    For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.  Sixteen percent of adult New Yorkers smoked in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2010, which was the city's lowest recorded rate, according to the findings released by New York City's Department of Health.
  • Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:28:27 GMT
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
  • Etan Patz murder confession played in court

    Etan Patz murder confession played in court

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:43:37 GMT
    A judge allowed a confession tape to be played in court in connection with the case of Etan Patz, who vanished in 1979. On the tape, Pedro Hernandez described how he killed Patz. But his lawyers say Hernandez falsely confessed and doesn't understand his rights. Before Hernandez's videotaped confession was played, Patz's mother quickly left the courtroom unable to watch the video.
    A judge allowed a confession tape to be played in court in connection with the case of Etan Patz, who vanished in 1979. On the tape, Pedro Hernandez described how he killed Patz. But his lawyers say Hernandez falsely confessed and doesn't understand his rights. Before Hernandez's videotaped confession was played, Patz's mother quickly left the courtroom unable to watch the video.
Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices