Victims in New York Car Crash Identified, Driver Who Killed Them Gets Released

Victims in New York Car Crash Identified, Driver Who Killed Them Gets Released
A stock photo shows police tape (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

The victims of a fatal car crash in New York City have been identified as a Hawaiian actress and her two children.

Tony award-winning actress Ruthie Ann Blumenstein was struck by an out-of-control vehicle while crossing the street Monday in New York City.

Blumenstein, who is pregnant, was rushed to the hospital where she remains in stable condition.

Her 4-year-old daughter, Abigail, was killed on impact, reported Hawaii News Now.

Lauren Lew was also hit by the driver, who eyewitnesses said was speeding in order to try to get through a changing traffic light.

Lew’s 1-year-old son, Joshua, was also killed in the crash. Lew is at the hospital in stable condition, as is a 46-year-old man who was hit.

The five people were among those crossing the street in a crosswalk when the driver sped up and hit them.

After the driver, identified as Dorothy Bruns, hit the group, she tried to flee the scene but hit another vehicle and was soon restrained by responding emergency personnel.

However, she was soon let go and it’s unclear whether she'll be charged with any crimes. Bruns claimed to have had a medical issue at the time.

However, Bruns has been cited four times in the last two years for running red lights.

Traffic control advocates are furious over the latest crash because many drivers who injure and kill pedestrians and bicyclists are let go without criminal charges or with only light sentences.

While former Mayor Michael Bloomberg focused on improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, current Mayor Bill de Blasio has focused more on car-centric policies.

De Blasio told reporters at City Hall that an investigation is underway, though he didn’t appear to say why Bruns was released after killing two children.

“For Chirlane and I obviously this is very personal. It occurred in our neighborhood, very, very close to our home,“ he said. “This loss of life is tragic and painful for all of us, particularly those of us who are parents.”

New York City councilman Brad Lander said he wants to do all he can to make sure Bruns is charged.

“I’m in contact with @NYPDHighway and @BrooklynDA, and will do all I can to make sure she is held accountable. Hard to square the story of a seizure with this driving record, which shows depraved indifference to the lives & safety of others,” he said Twitter.

Witnesses told local media outlets that the carnage was like something out of a horror movie, with one of the children’s strollers dragged more than 350 feet.

“Those two kids were ran over like dogs,” a shell-shocked witness told the New York Daily News.
“Surveillance footage from the scene shows a white Volvo stopped at the intersection. Then, the sedan creeps forward, missing pedestrians crossing on the near side of the road and a car that had the right-of-way. Then, it appears to speed up somewhat as it slams into the man, women, and children in the crosswalk across the intersection,” reported NBC.

One witness told the broadcaster that the younger child was dragged.

“The baby was under the car she was dragging. The carriage is still there, I see the car, under there,” said witness Jennifer Muniz.

“Everybody started running behind the car. I ran to the baby. You’re not supposed to move them. I just put my sweatsuit on them just to stop the bleeding.”

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