Grandmother Of 4-Year-Old Killed In UWS SUV Crash: ‘I’m Devastated’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The grandmother of the little girl killed in a devastating crash on the Upper West Side was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
The heartbroken woman was still struggling to cope with her loss, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
Katia Gutierez was wheeled out on a stretcher from St. Luke’s Hospital on Wednesday. The fact that she was going home was a sign of progress, but the emotional setback she will face is almost unbearable.
“I’m devastated,” she said.
On June 4, she was walking her granddaughter, Ariel Russo, to school when a teenage driver being chased by police mounted the sidewalk on Amsterdam Avenue.
His SUV struck both of them, killing the 4-year-old.
Gutierez could only sob on Wednesday.
The accident exposed a problem in the city’s Emergency Medical Services dispatch. It took emergency responders eight minutes to reach Gutierez and Russo. By then, the little girl had died.
While it’s unclear if the girl would have survived in any case, FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano said a worker was distracted.
However, the EMS workers union said the city’s new 911 system failed.
Russo’s family agrees and has filed a $20 million lawsuit over the delayed response.
As the legal battle plays out, so does a personal one for Gutierez.
“She’s getting better physically but, emotionally, I don’t know. When she walks into that apartment it’s going to trigger memories,” said Alan Russo, Ariel’s father.
Gutierez was taken home in an ambulance, her leg still broken, but the most devastating wound – heartache — may never heal.
The city admits there are bugs with the new 911 system, but insists in Ariel’s case it was a person — not a computer — that made a mistake.
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