Ariel Russo's Family Calls on City to Fix 911 System

By Amanda MikelbergTrevor Kapp and Victoria Bekiempis  on June 21, 2013 5:02pm

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 The parents of the 4-year-old girl struck and killed by and SUV on the Upper West Side June 4 appeared at a City Council hearing on 911 calls.
City Council Hearing on 911 Calls
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NEW YORK CITY — The mother of Ariel Russo demanded the city fix its blighted 911 call system after the death of her 4-year-old daughter death, claiming the delay in getting an ambulance to the scene "may have been a substantial factor in her death," she said.

Sophia Russo, speaking at a City Council hearing on the 911 system on Friday, told politicians that it didn't matter what caused the 4-minute delay in responding to the crash that killed the adorable 4-year-old girl — just that the current set up is deadly.

"Whether the cause is human error or a tech glitch, the end result is the same," she said, holding back tears. "The lifeline we all count on did not arrive in time."

"I believe the delay may have been a substantial factor in her death," she said. "We need to demand this 911 system be fixed."

Ariel died June 4 when Franklin Reyes, 17, plowed into her and her grandmother, Katia Gutierrez, on 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue while trying to evade cops.

Paramedics were delayed getting to the scene because a 911 operator missed the call, FDNY officials have said.

The Bloomberg administration has agreed better monitor emergency response times by starting the clock when the calls come in, rather than when the ambulance is dispatched.

“The Russo family and every New Yorker deserves to know that when they call 911, help will arrive as quickly as possible,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn of the bill.

“Today is the first step, but certainly not the last step in our work for the Russo family and all New Yorkers.”

The family plans to sue the city for $40 million because of the dispatch delay.

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