UWS CRASH UPDATE: Teenage Driver Fleeing Police Kills 4-Year-Old Girl At Amsterdam & 97th

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

UPDATE 3:10 pm: 4-Year-Old Victim Identified As Ariel Russo

It’s been about six hours since the tragic incident at Amsterdam & 97th this morning. Various news outlets are still reporting slightly different details, but this much is clear:

A 4-year-old girl was killed and her grandmother seriously injured when they were struck by an SUV around 8:20 am.

The vehicle’s driver, an 18-year-old kid with a history of legal trouble, was being pursued by police for an unrelated traffic incident that occurred moments earlier elsewhere on the Upper West Side.


Stories are still being updated as additional details emerge and corrections are made to earlier posts, but every major media outlet has coverage, including NYT, DNAinfo, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and The Post.

The trouble began when police pulled over 18-year-old Franklin Reyes (identified by The Post) for reckless driving. The exact location is unclear — I’ve seen reports saying both Amsterdam and Columbus, with cross-streets including 82nd, 86th, and 89th.

As police approached the vehicle on foot, the driver allegedly sped away. Moments later, with police in pursuit, Mr. Reyes reportedly attempted to make a high-speed left turn onto West 97th from Amsterdam.

He lost control of his Nissan Frontier SUV (photo) and apparently crashed into Asian Fusion restaurant Ozen, located at the northwest corner of the intersection.

It was at this time that the girl and her grandmother were struck. Multiple reports indicate the pair were hit as the driver backed up after the initial impact with the restaurant.

By that point, police had caught up to the driver, removed him from the vehicle, and placed him in custody.

The Post reports that Mr. Reyes has prior arrests for armed robbery, attempted robbery, and marijuana possession. ABC states that he was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center and charges are pending.

The 4-year-old victim was reportedly still alive after the accident, but died from her injuries at the hospital. ABC reports that the grandmother was taken to the hospital in critical condition but has since been upgraded to stable condition.

Just a horrific tragedy that words can’t even begin to describe, and an awful reminder that life can be snatched away in the blink of an eye.



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