The Park Slope driver who fatally struck two young children when she ran a red light in March was indicted for reckless manslaughter and other charges on Thursday, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced.
Dorothy Bruns of Staten Island was charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, third-degree assault and related charges. The 44-year-old was held on bail of $75,000 bond or $25,000 cash, and she is due back in court on June 13. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
On March 5, the 44-year-old Bruns drove her Volvo into the intersection of Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, striking Abigal Blumenstein, 4, and Joshua Lew, 1, and their mothers, Lauren Lew and Ruthie Ann Blumenstein and a male pedestrian.
Both children were killed, and Blumenstein, a pregnant Tony-winning Broadway actress whose stage name is Ruthie Ann Miles, was seriously injured, though her unborn baby was unharmed, her family later said.
Bruns attempted to flee after the crash, dragging Joshua Lew’s stroller down Ninth Street until she crashed into several cars and was detained by witnesses.
Bruns told emergency responders afterward that she had suffered a seizure, which caused her to accelerate through the red light. A police source said Bruns had recently had two strokes and a neighbor said she has multiple sclerosis, which can cause seizures. Evidence cited by DA Gonzalez showed Bruns had two other seizures immediately following the crash.
Gonzalez on Thursday said Bruns was ordered not to drive for one year after she was hospitalized when she crashed into a parked car less than two months before the Park Slope incident.
“The loss of Abigail and Joshua was a horrific — and avoidable — tragedy that devastated their loved ones and hurt so many of their friends and neighbors,” the DA said in a statement. “After a thorough investigation that started in the hours after the crash, my office indicted the driver for recklessly causing their deaths. Her alleged insistence on driving despite doctor’s orders and serious medical conditions that prevented her from safely doing so was not only irresponsible, it was unlawful. I intend to now hold her accountable and urge all drivers to heed instructions of medical professionals and never drive a car when told not to.”
Additionally, Bruns’ license plate had been cited 12 times in the past two years for traffic violations that included four instances of running red lights and four for speeding in school zones.