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Mourners Pay Last Respects To Manhattan Girl Killed By Allegedly Reckless Driver

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Funeral services were held Sunday night in Rego Park, Queens for the little girl who was struck and killed by an SUV last week on the Upper West Side.

The viewing for 4-year-old Ariel Russo was held at the Leo Kerns Funeral Home at 61-40 Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park.

"It's very hard, very sad," said one mourner.

"It's something we're still in shock. Not only Tuesday, today we're in shock," said another mourner.

The girl was killed Tuesday while her grandmother walked her to school.

She remains in critical condition.

The driver of the SUV, 17-year-old Franklin Reyes, is charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Neighbors lit candles at 830 Amsterdam Avenue, Ariel's apartment building, on Saturday night to remembering Ariel, noting her affinity for ice cream.

"Ariel was a happy-go-lucky little girl who came into the building every day with an ice cream. And she was a happy-go-lucky girl," said Shirley Williams, the president of the residents' association.

"She used to come in with her little ice cream at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. One of the neighbors used to mess with her, saying, 'Give me your ice cream.' She was like, 'No!' She grabbed her father's leg," said Jim Mackins, a neighbor.

Meanwhile, a war of words has broken out over why 911 calls for help after the crash went unanswered for four minutes.

The FDNY confirms frantic 911 calls and police radio traffic to the dispatch system went unanswered for four minutes and 18 seconds. It took the ambulance three minutes and 52 seconds more to arrive at the scene.

Fire commissioner Sal Cassano blames an operator for not seeing the call. However, the EMT union president counters the call was never on the screen, saying since the 911 upgrade late last month the system has dropped and lost calls and has even shut down at times.

As for Ariel Russo, the funeral home told NY1 the family has requested that her final resting place and burial service remain private for now.

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