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City Council Passes Emergency-Response Bill In Honor Of Girl Killed By SUV

Lawmakers Also Vote To Rename Street For Ariel Russo
Ariel Russo (Handout)

Ariel Russo (Handout)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Council passed legislation Tuesday honoring a 4-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle in June.

Ariel Russo was mowed down by a teenager who was fleeing police, according to authorities. Russo’s grandmother was also severely injured in the crash.

As WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported, the bill, which still requires the mayor’s signature before becoming law, changes how response times are counted during emergencies.

An ambulance took eight minutes to get to Russo, however, the FDNY only counted the four minutes from the time the ambulance was dispatched, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.  The FDNY did not count the four-minute delay in dispatching the ambulance.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the law means all the minutes will be counted now and the data will be put to use.  “That will help the city determine how to best deploy limited resources and how we can facilitate swifter emergency responses,” Quinn said.

The council also voted to rename West 97th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway “Ariel Russo Way.”

“Today’s Tuesday,” said Ariel’s mother, Sophia. “Tuesdays are hard because Ariel was born on a Tuesday, and she died on a Tuesday. But there’s something good happening on this Tuesday because this law is being passed in her honor.”

“Ariel was such a caring, caring little girl. She cared about everyone and everything. And this passing of this law means so much to me as her mother because it means that even though my child died, she didn’t die in vain.”

Sophia added that the law could prevent other deaths.

Franklin Reyes, 17, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the June 4 crash at West 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. He was driving with a learner’s permit, police said.

The City Council held hearings on the new 911 system following the fatal crash.

Ariel Russo, 2 days before she was struck and killed by an SUV in June. (credit: handout)

Ariel Russo, 2 days before she was struck and killed by an SUV in June. (credit: handout)

During a City Council hearing on the 911 system in June, emergency dispatchers, firefighters and EMS workers said the city’s new $2 billion modernization of its 911 system, which includes using new technology and a new backup call center, was unreliable.

Russo’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city for $40 million over the ambulance delay.

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