Update: The Post and DNAinfo have identified the victims as Ariel Russo, 4, and her grandmother, Katia Gutierrez. The driver has been named as Franklin Reyes, 17. Correcting information released earlier today, NYPD now says Reyes has a record of one arrest, and it was not for robbery, according to the Post.
A young child and a woman were struck by the driver of an SUV during a police pursuit this morning on the Upper West Side, according to reports. The child, a 4-year-old girl, was killed.
Photo: New York Post
Both victims were transported to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt. The second victim, the child’s grandmother, age 58, was in critical condition, reports said.
The crash occurred near W. 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue at around 8:15. The Times spoke with a witness who said an SUV “was racing north on Amsterdam Avenue with a police car in pursuit when it swerved onto the sidewalk.”
The driver of the S.U.V. had been pulled over for reckless driving around 82nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, shortly before the accident, the police said.
But as the two officers exited their patrol car to approach the S.U.V., the driver sped away, according to the police.
During the pursuit, the driver, an 18-year-old man, lost control of his vehicle and struck a building some 15 blocks away, near 97th Street. As the driver backed up, he struck the child and her grandmother, the police said. The police have not released the driver’s name.
The driver attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended. “It was a young guy driving the car,” said witness Nancy Caviera. “The police were trying to stop him.”
NYPD vehicular pursuits have ended in death and injury for several bystanders in recent years, including Karen Schmeer, who was killed at Broadway and W. 90th Street. The 2010 crash that killed Schmeer and today’s crash both took place in the 24th Precinct.
From the NYPD Patrol Guide: “Department policy requires that a vehicle pursuit be terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if [the] suspect is not immediately apprehended.”
After Schmeer’s death, 24th Precinct Deputy Inspector Kathleen O’Reilly said that even the shooting of a police officer probably should not warrant a vehicular chase. “We’ve got ballistics. We’ve got evidence,” she said. “We’ll track them down.” WNBC reports that, according to NYPD, the suspect in today’s crash had previous arrests for robbery and marijuana possession.