A 17-year-old boy is under arrest, charged with manslaughter, after the car he was driving struck and killed a girl and injured her grandmother on the Upper West Side. The crash occurred on Wednesday morning in a residential neighborhood at a time when many children were walking to school.
Four year-old Ariel Russo died when the teen's SUV was fleeing police, jumped a curb and pinned her and her grandmother against an apartment building. The grandmother is in the hospital in stable condition.
A woman who gave her name as Miriam gathered with others at the corner of 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue to share information and view the crumpled SUV. She said she brings her 4 year-old son Rafi to a nearby Early Learning Center every weekday. "There by the grace of God, it could've been my son and I crossing the street," she said.
Bertha Hope, who has lived in the neighborhood for 44 years, said parts of the heavily trafficked neighborhood make her nervous. "I'm on this street often and I've never considered this a dangerous place to cross for myself," she said. "But I know other places where I'm freaked out."
The number of pedestrians struck and killed in New York rose 5 percent last year, and the total number of traffic fatalities rose 12 percent.