Teen who killed girl in Upper West Side crash blames pothole

Darla Miles has the story
November 7, 2013 3:22:22 PM PST
The teenager charged with hitting and killing a 4-year-old girl on the upper West Side is now blaming the accident on a pothole.

"It's like they're spitting on my face," said Alan Russo, the victim's father.

What a horrible feeling for this 27-year-old father who lost his baby girl back in June.

"He'll be free for Christmas and New Year's, and I'm going to be without my daughter, you know," Alan Russo said.

17-year-old Franklin Reyes is free on bail.

Police say he ran over 4-year-old Ariel Russo and her grandmother as they walked to school back in June on West 97th and Amsterdam.

In court Wednesday, his attorney may have alluded to a possible defense strategy.

"His lawyer raised the issue of a pothole defense. Even if there were potholes, this young man was fleeing from police who pulled him over for a traffic infraction," said Sanford Rubenstein, the family's attorney.

"I was shocked that he's trying to blame a pothole when he shouldn't have taken his parents' car, he should have pulled over when the police tried to stop him," said Sophia Russo, the victim's mother.

"You've got to be kidding me, come on, I mean, that's desperation," Alan Russo said.

In June, Reyes cried openly in court as he faced manslaughter and other charges.

But no one has shed more tears in the last six months, than Ariel's mom and dad.

"The first year everything will be hard, the holidays, her birthday, it's not fair, it's not fair," Alan Russo said.

Reyes will be back in court on December 18th, and the Russo's hope the judge will set a trial date.