The four-year-old daughter of Tony-winning actress Ruthie Ann Miles and a one-year-old boy have been identified as the children hit and killed by a woman who ran a red light in Brooklyn on Monday.
At around 12:40 pm on Monday, 44-year-old Dorothy Bruns of Staten Island was driving in Park Slope, Brooklyn when she ran a red light and hit and killed one-year-old Josh Lew and four-year-old Abigail Blumenstein.
The deceased little girl is the daughter of Ruth Blumenstein, the theater actress known as Ruthie Ann Miles, who won a Tony Award in 2015 for her role in ‘The King and I.’
Both the Tony winner and Lauren Lew, the mother of the boy who died, sustained injuries. A fifth victim was also taken with the mothers to the New York Presbyterian Methodist Brooklyn Hospital for treatment.
Blumenstein and Lew appear to be friends. In her acceptance speech for the Tony three years ago, Blumenstein gave a shoutout to ‘the Lews’.
‘I could fall and never hit the ground because of the amazing women who are my friends behind me,’ she added.
At least one of the adults was described by a witness as being a pregnant woman who sustained critical injuries.
One witness described to the New York Post how Lew tried to save her son immediately after the tragedy unfolded, but it was too late.
‘The mom was sitting there next to him screaming,’ said Andrew Macaluso, 26, who is a fourth-year medical student.
‘She was just kind of [saying], “Oh, God, this can’t be happening. Tell me this isn’t happening. What’s going on?”‘ Macaluso said.
‘I said, “Are you the mom?” and she said, “Yeah,”‘ he continued.
He went on to detail their efforts over the next several minutes, as they tried to revive her little boy.
‘The child had blood on his face,’ Macaluso said. ‘She wipes off his face and gives him air while I’m giving him chest compression.’
Then paramedics arrived and took the victims away.
Moments before, the two kids and their mothers had just gotten off the bus and were crossing the street when a woman driving a white Volvo sped through the intersection at 9th Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, striking the families.
At first, the driver tried to speed away, dragging the stroller that the boy was being pushed in behind her for half a block until she crashed into some parked cars on the opposite side of the street and came to a stop.
‘The kids were run straight over, and the driver tried to get away and hit a car,’ one anonymous witness told the Post.
‘I don’t even want to think about this. … Just to know those kids were running down like a dog.’
The children were pronounced dead at the scene while their mothers and a fifth unidentified victim were taken to the hospital.
The driver, identified as Bruns, told police that she had medical issues and was taken from the scene to undergo toxicology tests.
Witness Jennifer Muñiz, 28, told the New York Daily News that the driver seemed unaffected by the deaths and injuries she had just caused when EMTs removed her from her vehicle.
‘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 alright?” Not shaking. Nothing.’
After she was set on a stretcher, the first responder checked Bruns’ vision, and then gave her telephone and handbag to her.
‘She was texting on her cell phone like nothing happened,’ Muñiz said. ‘Like she had just parked the car.’
Mayor Bill de Blasio said a full investigation was underway regarding the tragedy.
‘For [my wife] Chirlane and I obviously this is very personal. It occurred in our neighborhood, very, very close to our home,’ de Blasio said, at City Hall.
‘This loss of life is tragic and painful for all of us, particularly those of us who are parents.’
He added: ‘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 [our children] 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.’
Vision Zero is a New York City initiative that aims to achieve zero fatalities on city streets due to traffic crashes.
A GoFundMe set up for Miles has raised over $103,000 as of Tuesday morning. One for Lauren Lew has raised more than $20,000.
According to the fund for the Lews, the couple was living in Brooklyn while Charles Lew finished his residency.
‘They do not have family in the area. They were in the process of looking for an apartment prior to the accident, as their current lease is up. It is our hope that these funds can help alleviate their financial burdens as they prepare to lay their son to rest.
‘While there is nothing we can do or say to bring their boy back, we hope these funds will serve as an expression of the community supporting them during this time,’ friends say on the fund’s website.
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