An unlicensed driver who killed a 4-year-old girl while he was fleeing from police apologized to her family in court and was sentenced to up to nine years in prison.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering I have caused,” Franklin Reyes Jr. said in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The girl’s mother moments earlier had ripped into him for showing no remorse, according to the Daily News.
Reyes, who was 17 at the time of the crash, previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges in the June 2013 death of Ariel Russo.
Reyes was driving his parents’ SUV without a license and fled from officers who were trying to stop him from driving erratically. He jumped a curb and slammed into a restaurant on the ground floor of an apartment building, pinning Ariel and her grandmother Katie Gutierrez.
The girl’s mother, Sofia Russo, told Reyes: “Ariel died a violent death because of your reckless behavior, and you have not apologized. You have shown no remorse.”
The judge said in January 2015 that Reyes could not be treated as a youthful offender because he had been arrested twice since the fatal crash.
While Reyes was out on bail, he was stopped by police for driving without a license. Authorities said he stepped on the gas, dragging an officer 100 feet. In August 2014, while in custody, Reyes complained about chest pains and escaped from a hospital, authorities said.
The city, citing Ariel’s death, enacted a law requiring the fire department to calculate emergency response times from the moment a 911 call is made, not when a 911 operator transfers the call to a dispatcher.
The city’s investigative arm said human error caused a 4-minute lag in processing calls to rush an ambulance to the scene. However, the response time was still deemed faster than average.
Ariel was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital.