Park Slope Residents Demand Safer Street Design after Brooklyn Car Crash Kills 2 Children

After Monday’s accident in Brooklyn claimed the lives of two small children, many people left teddy bears and flowers at the spot where the kids died. However, no matter how upset or heartbroken residents of Park Slope are, they are set to make their streets safer for everybody.

On Monday, friends Lauren Lew and Ruthie Ann Miles were walking down the street with their kids, one-year-old Joshua Lew and four-year-old Abigail Blumenstein. They were near Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope when a 2016 Volvo S60 Sedan rammed into them at around 12:40 p.m.

Witnesses claim that Joshua’s stroller was dragged for almost an entire block by the car. Joshua and Abigail died at the scene. Both women were also injured in the accident. Miles is pregnant, and it is not yet known whether her baby survived.

A surveillance video shows 44-year-old Dorothy Bruns stopping at the intersection where pedestrians are crossing the road. But Bruns hits the accelerator, first slowly, and later, she speeds through the red light.

As of now, Bruns has not been charged, and authorities are investigating her medical history and driving record. Reportedly, Bruns’ driving license was suspended.

Pedestrian Safety Protest

In the wake of the horrific accident, many residents and advocates for pedestrian safety confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio as he entered Park Slope gym on Tuesday morning.

They asked him for safer local streets. Several hours later, many people came out to protest. City Councilman Brad Lander feels that Bruns’ driver’s license should be taken away.

Lander explained that Bruns’ vehicle has a record that includes jumping four red light infractions and speeding four times in a school zone in the last two years.

Brad Lander and Mayor de Blasio decided to implement strict traffic infractions and more strict Department of Motor Vehicles penalties for drivers with several violations.

Lander said, “[Bruns] said that she had a seizure, but I don’t know if she had a seizure all those other times she failed to stop at traffic lights, all those other times she sped in a school zone.”

Kathy Park Price who lives in Park Slope and is a mother of two kids said, “There is a culture that devalues pedestrians. We live in a city that is a walking city, but there is a culture that cars come first. And pedestrians are basically speed humps. Our kids are speed humps.”

Park Slope residents and advocates for pedestrian safety want the intersection to be redesigned. Mayor de Blasio has the power to implement this.

Mayor de Blasio’s Comments to Protestors

Mayor de Blasio addressed the protesters outside the YMCA by explaining that it is the responsibility of Albany lawmakers to regulate the speed cameras, which are installed in only 140 school zones.

De Blasio said, “I can’t believe we don’t have more speed cameras. I don’t know what you have to say to everyone in Albany to get them to want to do something that protect kids.”

Previous Accidents in the Same Area Due to Speeding

One of the protesting residents said, “Four years ago, my son was killed by a reckless driver. I joined with others to form ‘Families for Safe Streets’ because no one else should have to go through this loss.”

Between 2012 and 2016, two major accidents occurred at the Fifth Avenue intersection, including the death of Bahtiyor Khamdamov.

Additionally, since 2014, there have been 10 instances traffic injuries at the same intersection. For several years, residents have filed complaints.

DOT spokesman Scott Gastell said in a statement that they will immediately cross-check the area for safety improvements.