crimes and misdemeanors

Teen Driver Suggests Potholes Caused Crash That Killed 4-Year-Old Girl

Franklin Reyes, 17, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in June after the SUV he was driving jumped a curb on the Upper West Side, killing 4-year-old Ariel Russo and injuring her grandmother, Katia Gutierrez. In court on Wednesday the teen’s lawyer, Martin Schmukler, suggested that potholes were to blame – not the fact that Reyes didn’t have a license, took his mother’s car, and got into a high-speed chase with police. Schmukler said, “you can see a whole series of holes” at the accident site, and asked to delay the trial until he can obtain a report on the city’s pothole repairs. “If the vehicle hit a pothole that would explain how it went out of control,” he explained. “He hit them because he was fleeing police,” Ariel’s mother, Sofia Russo, said while leaving court. “He seems like the type of person to put the blame everywhere else.”

Defendant: Potholes to Blame for Girl’s Death