2 children killed, Broadway star and friend hurt after being hit by car in Brooklyn

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
2 children fatally struck by car in Brooklyn
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Jim Dolan has the latest on the crash that killed two children in Brooklyn.

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The 4-year-old daughter of a Tony-award winning actress and the 1-year-old son of her friend were killed when a driver apparently lost control of her vehicle and slammed into them as they crossed a Brooklyn street Monday afternoon.

Broadway star Ruthie Ann Blumenstein, who goes by the stage name Ruthie Ann Miles and won a Tony for her role as Lady Thiang in a revival of the "King and I," was injured in the accident in Park Slope. Her daughter Abigail was killed.

Blumenstein, who is pregnant, was walking with friend Lauren Lew, who had 1-year-old Joshua in a stroller. He died, and Lew was also injured.

The incident happened at 9th Street and Fifth Avenue around 12:30 p.m.

"We do not exactly know what happened yet, there is a full investigation underway," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "But I will state the obvious. This loss of life is tragic, painful for all of us, particularly those of us who are parents."

After striking the victims, police say the driver -- 44-year-old Dorothy Bruns of Staten Island -- crossed into an oncoming lane and crashed into a parked vehicle. She was questioned by police at the scene, taken into custody and transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation.

The scene where multiple people, including children, were struck in Brooklyn on Monday, March 5, 2018.
Leah Finnegan/Twitter

Bruns told police she had a seizure, according to law enforcement, and investigators are now looking at her medical records to determine if she should have been driving in the first place.

The car she was driving had a recent past that is harrowing.

"The car she was driving over the last two years has gotten tickets for running four red lights, and four speeding in a school zone," said New York City Councilman Brad Lander. "I think we were just floored. Now that's the car and not necessarily the driver."

Tuesday the NYPD and DMV did move to suspend the driver's license of Bruns.

"In order to get that number of tickets in two years you have to be driving all the time like someone who does not give a damn about the health and safety of your neighbors," said Lander.

The woman reportedly has a history of medical problems, and following the crash, she was disoriented and could not recall the incident. Drug and alcohol tests were negative.

No charges have been filed, although the final determination will be made by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.

On Tuesday night, neighbors brought flowers, candles and teddy bears to a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk.

"Everybody is like, 'Stop, stop,'" witness Jennifer Muniz said. "Everybody yelling, people running crossing the street screaming, crying, call 911. People trying to cover the baby to stop her from bleeding."

Jessica Sierra immediately ran to help the little girl.

"I ran to her, a bunch of people ran to the mom," she said. "And then I didn't even realize there was another baby down the block."

Meanwhile, others tended to the mothers, who were laying helpless in the middle of the street.

"All she kept saying was, 'My baby, my baby,' and she kept on trying to get up," witness De'sir'ee Williams said.

Witnesses said it was a devastating scene.

"She did get to her knees, but then she dropped back down because she had a leg injury," witness June Clark Smith Said. "Because when the ambulance finally got here, her head was bleeding."

A 46-year-old man was also struck by the car and was expected to survive.

Broadway stars took to social media to express sympathy.

Actresses Audra McDonald and Sutton Foster sent out links for a GoFundMe page raising money for the family. Miranda sent out a similar link for Lew.


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