California mom who lost son on trip to New Orleans, seeks justice

California woman who lost son on trip to New Orleans, seeks justice

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A California mother, who came to New Orleans with her son is headed back home this week, without him, after a crash on Convention Center Boulevard.

Stephanie Ruscigno has suffered unimaginable loss, but has somehow found a measure of satisfaction.

She is a disabled Army veteran, who came to New Orleans to attend a convention of disabled vets. But her trip became the ordeal of a lifetime.

"Because a driver thought it was fun to speed and run red lights," said Ruscigno.

Ruscigno, came here with her 37-year-old son Jason, three weeks ago. Jason died Thursday, after being hit by a car which witnesses say was speeding, at the corner of Convention Center Blvd and Julia, around 4 p.m. Aug 1.

"He said it was a yellow light, all the witnesses said he sped through a red light," said Ruscigno.

At the crash scene, many tried to help, including a waitress working her first day at Mulatte's.

"He told her, I have to get to my mom," said Ruscigno.

"He kept saying I've got to get to mom, I've got to get to mom," said Alyssa Creel. She has medical training, and ran outside to do what she could.

"We tried to keep him from moving too much, because we knew a couple of ribs were broken," said Creel.

Creel tried to dial Jason's mom on his cell phone, but she could not answer, because she says the phone was stolen earlier that day.

"Somebody in New Orleans decided they needed it more than I did," said Ruscigno.

With Alyssa's help, eventually Jason's mom located him at University Medical Center, where he fought for life for 16 days.

"Squeezing hands, moaning in pain...and a couple of times he gasped out 'ma'," said Ruscigno.

Jason's fight ended Thursday.

"He never stopped bleeding in the brain," said Ruscigno.

"I was totally devastated," said family friend Jonathan Bibbins.

But there's some solace. Jason's organs have been harvested, and Gary Ferrell of Rhode Island, just got one of his kidneys.

"That man's family texted, that he just received it this morning, and he's actually walking. That means the world to me," said Ruscigno.

Now, Ruscigno wants justice for her son.

New Orleans police arrested Corey Johnson and initially charged him with driving with a suspended license. He could possibly face new charges, now that Ruscigno has died.

Sunday night, FOX 8 spoke with the sister of Gary Ferrell, the kidney recipient.  Carolanne Ferrell says his recovery is amazing. The donation was made possible through the help of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.  Ferrell says the family will send money collected for medical expenses, to the Ruscigno family, to help pay for Jason's funeral.

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