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De Blasio: Arrest driver who killed 2 children in Park Slope crash

The mayor said Dorothy Bruns should have never been driving a car and that certain city driving laws need to be updated.

NYPD transportation chief Thomas Chan and Mayor Bill de Blasio discuss on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, the Park Slope crash that killed two children, with Chan saying the driver suffered an apparent "medical episode." (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes)

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that the woman who crashed her car into a group of pedestrians in Park Slope, killing two children and injuring their mothers, should be arrested and never able to get behind the wheel again.

De Blasio, whose home is in the neighborhood and said he was speaking as a member of the community, criticized the driver, identified as 44-year-old Dorothy Bruns, and said certain city driving laws need to be updated.

“This should never have happened, she should never have been allowed to be driving a car ... I share the frustration of many of my community,” de Blasio said during an unrelated news conference at police headquarters. “I wish she was under arrest right now. I certainly believe that measures need to be taken to make sure she will not drive a car anymore.”

Bruns suffers from seizures and may have had a medical episode during the crash, police sources said. Her license has been suspended pending a medical review. Investigators at the scene said Bruns may have been foaming at the mouth, said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan.

Bruns crashed her white Volvo after initially stopping at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street on Monday afternoon.

She slammed into the pedestrians, killing 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1-year-old Joshua Lew, who was in a stroller that was dragged halfway down the block by the car.

Their mothers, 33-year-old Lauren Lew and 34-year-old Ruth Ann Blumenstein, a pregnant Tony-award winning actress better known by her stage name Ruthie Ann Miles, were also injured in the crash.

The vehicle involved in the crash had received a dozen parking and camera violations since July 2016, according to city summons data. The violations included four citations for failing to stop at a red light — three in Brooklyn and one in Queens — and another four for speeding in a school zone — one in Staten Island, one in Queens and two in Brooklyn, Chan said.

It was not clear if Bruns had been driving the car at the time of those violations.

De Blasio said he identified “a bunch of problems” with the current laws and expects to explore specifics next week, including creating a better system to evaluate potential drivers with medical impairments, giving law enforcement officers more freedom to investigate multiple camera violations and creating more consequences for those involved in fatal accidents.

He floated the idea of taking away someone’s car if they have repeatedly violated some road laws as an “appropriate” action. Many of these laws are up to the state, de Blasio said.

“God forbid you have some sort of impairment; you shouldn’t be driving ... at least there have to be clear standards of what you have to do to report it and what action needs to be taken once you report it, and if you don’t report it what happens to you and I don’t think that’s the case right now,” he said.

“People who get behind the wheel of a car need to understand they have a weapon in their hands. Whether they mean it to be a weapon or not, it can turn into a weapon,” de Blasio added. “And they have to take that responsibility very, very seriously and there’s too many people who don’t.

“For years and years drivers would kill another human being and be treated like these things happen, no big deal. That’s disgusting to me.”


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