The driver who fatally struck two young children and injured three adults, including their mothers, at a Park Slope intersection Monday afternoon will likely not face charges due to a medical condition, an NYPD source told the New York Daily News Tuesday afternoon.
According to officials, Dorothy Bruns of Staten Island drove her white Volvo through a red light at the intersection of Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue around 12:40 p.m., striking a 46-year-old man and Ruthie Ann Blumenstein and Lauren Lew, who were walking with their children, 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1-year-old Joshua Lew.
Blumenstein, a pregnant Tony-winning actress who uses the stage name Ruthie Ann Miles, was seriously injured.
Bruns attempted to flee after the hit-and-run, dragging Joshua Lew’s stroller down the block before she crashed into several cars on Ninth Street, where bystanders stopped her. She had been citied for running red lights four times within the past two years, police said according to the New York Daily News, and her vehicle had also been cited for speeding in a school zone four times during that same time period.
Bruns told authorities at the scene that she has medical issues, which officials are currently investigating, NBC4 reported. She has not been charged for the crash and was still at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn early Tuesday, according to the Daily News.
A police source told the publication that Bruns had two strokes recently, and a former neighbor said she has multiple sclerosis, which can cause seizures, which she may have suffered at the time of the crash, the police source said.
“This very tragic incident is under active investigation, and we are looking into all aspects of this case,” a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney said.
All five victims were taken to New York-Presbyterian Methodist Brooklyn Hospital, where the two children were pronounced dead. Both Lew, who has a 6-month-old-son, and Blumenstein are in stable condition. The condition of her unborn child is unknown.
“It’s really, really sad what happened today,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday afternoon. “The driver is in NYPD custody. We do not know exactly what happened yet, there’s a full investigation underway. But I will state the obvious: This loss of life is tragic and painful for all of us, particularly those of us who are parents.”
De Blasio’s private Park Slope residence is nearby, and he said he knew the intersection “very, very well.” According to city records cited by the Daily News, there have been 10 traffic-related injuries at the intersection since 2014, and a pedestrian was killed there in February 2016.
“It’s another reminder of why we have to redouble our efforts on Vision Zero to work to the day when this never happens to any family,” de Blasio said.
Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel said the agency will “immediately review the area for any safety improvements.”
Brad Lander, the city councilman who represents the area, told the Daily News the tragedy is “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.”
A GoFund Me page set up for Blumenstein, who won a best-featured actress Tony in 2015 for her work in “The King and I,” and her family received more than $220,000 in donations in less than 24 hours.
“Ruthie is beloved by her many friends and colleagues in the Broadway and touring communities,” wrote creator Jack Stephens. “She is always kind and always has a smile. It is our honor to help her in this difficult time.”