Ariel Russo would be 9 years old now. A speeding driver ran over her five years ago.
"Ariel was walking to preschool when a reckless speeding driver got on the sidewalk and killed my daughter hand in hand with my mother," said Sofia Russo, Ariel's mother.
Ariel's mother stood with the district attorneys from every borough but Staten Island demanding that state lawmakers allow the city to turn speed cameras in school zones back on.
"To the legislature, please do your job on this," said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
"Let's make sure that this gets done and im speaking to the legislature before September 5, 2018," said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.
That's when public schools reopen, and unless something changes, there will be no working speed cameras in the streets surrounding them.
The cameras have been used in 140 school zones since 2014, reducing traffic deaths at those locations by 55 percent. But the city had to turn most of then off on July 25, and the rest are scheduled to go dark at the end of August, because the state failed to renew its authorization to allow their use.
"Speed cameras by schools reduce the speed," said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. "As the Brooklyn DA, I can tell you there is a strong correlation between people who speed and the tragic accidents and collisions."
The state Assembly passed a reauthorization of the speed camera program, but the Senate did not act on it before adjourning in June for the year. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the Republicans who control the Senate can call themselves back to Albany to vote on the bill. The Senate's top Republican says "the ball is in the Governor and Assembly’s court."
"To both the head of our executive branch and the head of the Senate, let's not dicker around with excuses. Let's come back in a special session, get this done once and for all," Vance said.