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Brooklyn driver runs red light, kills two children

An out-of-control driver blew through a red light Monday, fatally hitting two children at a Brooklyn street corner — dragging one kid’s stroller more than 350 feet.

Four-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1-year-old Joshua Lew were with their mothers, Lauren Lew and Ruthie Ann Blumenstein, at Ninth St. and Fifth Ave. in Park Slope when they were struck about 12:40 p.m.

Witnesses said Blumenstein, a Tony-winning theater actress whose stage name is Ruthie Ann Miles, was pregnant and critically hurt. Lew was also injured.

Medics rushed them and a fifth victim to New York-Presbyterian Methodist Brooklyn Hospital, but the two children could not be saved.

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“Those two kids were ran over like dogs,” a shell-shocked witness told the Daily News.

The driver, Dorothy Bruns, 44, whose car was cited four times in the last two years for running red lights, attempted to speed away but crashed into several cars on Ninth St. and was stopped by witnesses, cops said.

Police officers took her into custody. The car that Bruns was driving was also hit with speeding through a school zone four times in the last two years.

Two other adults also suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

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Witnesses said the driver dragged Josh’s stroller almost an entire block before coming to a stop after hitting parked cars.

Ruthie Ann Miles with her daughter Abigail Blumenstein. 

(Walter McBride/WireImage)

Lew’s frantic father, William Durston, who lives in Hawaii, caught the first flight to New York to be beside his daughter.

“I spoke to Lauren earlier today…I’m concerned about her health and her mental well-being.”

She also has a 6-month-old son, Samuel.

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Mayor de Blasio said an investigation is underway.

Lauren Lew's son was killed in the hit-and-run crash. She was rushed to the hospital.

Lauren Lew’s son was killed in the hit-and-run crash. She was rushed to the hospital.


“For Chirlane and I obviously this is very personal,” the mayor said at City Hall. “It occurred in our neighborhood, very, very close to our home.

“This loss of life is tragic and painful for all of us, particularly those of us who are parents,” de Blasio said.

“It’s another reminder of why we have to double our efforts on Vision Zero, to work for a day when this never happens to any family. This is an intersection that we happen to know very very well. We have crossed it many times with Dante and Chiara when they were kids, so this is personal. And we are praying for the families who have gone through this tragedy and we will do everything we can to help them.”

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Neighbors and strangers left flowers near the intersection to pay tribute to the young victims.

A teddy bear and a candle were placed next to the flowers.

Blumenstein, who won the 2015 Tony for best featured actress for her work in “The King and I,” proudly called herself a member of “the Park Slope Stroller Mafia” in a 2013 Daily News interview. Her family was not available for comment.

A woman who laid down some roses said her 76-year-old mother and her aunt crossed the street almost at the same time as the victims, walking right in front of them before the white Volvo struck them.

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Witness Jennifer Muñiz, 28, had just come out of the bank when she saw the white Volvo heading down Ninth St.

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Ruthie Ann Miles performs in ‘The King and I’ at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. Her daughter was killed in the crash. 

(Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro)

When the driver came to the intersection at Fifth Ave., she looked both ways and kept going, even though the light was red, Muñiz recalled.

The car hit several people and plowed over the two children, Muñiz said. Josh was pinned in his stroller under the car.

Abigail was flat on the pavement in a puddle of blood, a horrified Muñiz recalled.

But the driver didn’t seem too concerned.

“When they took her out, she was just standing there, like nothing,” Muñiz said. “No emotion. Not sad. Not crying. Not asking questions: ‘Is everybody all right?’ Not shaking. Nothing.”

An EMT sat the driver on a stretcher, checked her eyes, and then handed over her purse and phone.

“She was texting on her cell phone like nothing happened, Muñiz said. “Like she had just parked the car.”

Bruns told cops she had a medical condition, according to sources. She was taken to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn. Relatives said she suffered a seizure while driving. She had not been charged by cops Monday evening.

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A crushed stroller at scene of Monday’s crash. 

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)

Debbie LaSalle, a Park Slope resident, was crossing the same intersection when she saw the Volvo speed by.

“It was horrible to watch,” LaSalle, 44, said. “I’m still in shock. The white car was going really fast. The pregnant mother was facedown and the baby flew into the street.

“She dragged the stroller and…the other baby was pinned under the car. It was something you see in a horror movie.”

Residents have been complaining about the intersection for years.

A pedestrian died at that intersection in February 2016, and there have been 10 traffic injuries at that intersection since 2014, according to city records.

“It’s terrible,” said City Councilman Brad Lander, who represents the area.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Of course we should do everything we can to make our intersections safer and we can make this intersection safer for sure. But no intersection redesign was going to keep those kids safe in that intersection when somebody goes straight through a red light,” Lander added.

“We grieve for the loss of two young lives today, which as the mayor has said, underscore the need to continue stepping up the city’s Vision Zero efforts,” Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel said.

“We will immediately review the area for any safety improvements.” 

With Dan Rivoli, Janon Fisher

car crashes
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new york assaults
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