FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Staten Island Woman Indicted for Reckless Manslaughter for Killing Two Children in Park Slope Intersection While Driving Despite Doctor’s Orders
Suffered Seizure and Crashed into Pedestrians in Crosswalk;
Was Instructed Not to Drive Weeks Earlier Following Hospital Stay
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 44-year-old woman from Staten Island has been charged in a 10-count indictment with manslaughter and other charges for allegedly crashing her car into pedestrians in a Park Slope crosswalk, killing 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1-year-old Joshua Lew, and injuring three others. The defendant, who suffered a seizure at the time of the collision, was instructed not to drive after being hospitalized less than two months earlier after crashing her car into a parked vehicle.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “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. 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.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Dorothy Bruns, 44, of Staten Island. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 10-count indictment in which she is charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, third-degree assault and related counts. She was ordered held on bail of $75,000 bond or $25,000 cash and to return to court on June 13, 2018. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top charge.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on March 5, 2018, at approximately 12:40 p.m., the defendant was behind the wheel of a Volvo sedan, driving westbound on Ninth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when she stopped at the intersection of Fifth Avenue. While the light was still red, the defendant pressed the accelerator, crossed Fifth Avenue and struck a group of pedestrians who were crossing Ninth Street on the west side of the intersection, according to the investigation. Abigail Blumenstein, 4, and Joshua Lew, 1, died from the impact. Their mothers and another pedestrian suffered injuries. Joshua’s stroller was dragged down the street and the Volvo ultimately struck a parked car and came to a stop.
According to witnesses, the defendant allegedly had her head hanging back when she drove into the intersection. First responders observed her to be foaming from the mouth, confused and unsteady on her feet. She suffered a seizure in the ambulance and again at the hospital, the evidence shows.
The investigation revealed that on January 8, 2018, the defendant had a medical episode while driving her car on Staten Island and was subsequently hospitalized for two days, during which time she suffered a seizure. She was instructed not to drive for one year due to her medical condition upon her discharge and again during follow up appointments on January 16 and February 13, according to the evidence. These instructions were memorialized in her medical charts. Despite that, on January 20 the defendant’s car was allegedly involved in a fender bender on Staten Island and left the scene.
The case was investigated by Detective Steven Horn of the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad, under the supervision of Sergeant Alessio Bono.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Yasmine Meyer of the District Attorney’s Orange Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of the Trial Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.