Men Accused of Stealing Church Donations Intended for Family of 4-Year-Old Girl Killed by SUV

Ariel Russo was walking with her grandmother on the Upper West Side when she was struck and killed last June

Two men have been charged with pocketing thousands of dollars in donations raised for the family of a 4-year-old girl killed by an SUV on the Upper West Side as she walked on the sidewalk with her grandmother.

They allegedly took the money collected by Holy Name of Jesus Church on West 96th Street. They were indicted Wednesday on grand larceny charges.

Flavio Ramirez and Frederic Ello pleaded not guilty to stealing more than $20,000 in cash and check donations from the Catholic church.

They were responsible for handling the donations from the offering plate during services, according to The New York Post.

The church began a collection for Ariel Russo's family shortly after she was killed. She was walking to school with her grandmother last June 4 when she was struck by an unlicensed driver. 

Her grandmother was badly hurt but survived.

There was a four-minute delay between the 911 call and the ambulance dispatch, authorities have said. The city's Department of Investigation determined human error -- a distracted 911 operator -- was to blame, and that the much criticized technical system had no role in the delay.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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