THE BRONX - The family of a 4-year-old girl who was killed by reckless driver is fighting for a new law that would hold municipalities responsible for negligence by emergency services.
In 2013, Ariel Russo was walking with her grandmother when they were hit by Franklin Reyes Jr., an unlicensed driver who was fleeing police. Ariel did not survive. Her grandmother was seriously injured.
The Russo family filed a $40 million lawsuit against the city, but because of a legal loophole they were only awarded $150,000. On Friday, the family's attorney along with state Sen. Ruben Diaz introduced "Ariel's Law," which aims to close that loophole.
Under current case law, for a municipality to be held responsible for negligence, the victim or a blood relative must be the one to call 911. In this case, the city cannot be held liable for the four-minute dispatch delay that occurred the day of the accident because the 911 call about the incident wasn’t placed by Ariel herself or a relative.
"Ariel's Law will hold municipalities responsible when they are guilty of negligence causing wrongful death or injury, to innocent victims and do away with legal loophole that requires direct contact with the victim and the municipality" said Russo family attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.
If the law is passed, the Russo family will not be entitled to any more compensation.
The Russo family says that this fight is about more than just money, it's about holding the city accountable.