NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A vigil was held Tuesday night for the two small children killed by a car in Brooklyn. Some of Park slope’s youngest residents stopped by to pay their respects with candles and stuffed animals for the victims tragically killed Monday afternoon.
The tragedy just doesn’t seem real for those who know 34-year-old Ruthie Ann Blumenstein and her little girl, 4-year-old Abigail.
“I used to attend church with them, actually all the victims were on their way back from a prayer meeting,” said friend Cristina Lee. “Just to be out here and see that people in the community care, it’s really nice.”
The growing memorial is at the corner of 9th Street and 5th Avenue, where sources say a 44-year-old female driver ran a red light, slamming into them just after 12:30 p.m. Monday.
The impact killed Abigail and another child, 1-year-old Josh Lew, who was in his stroller.
“She was going slow and then hit them,” one person said.
“The baby went flying through the air,” another woman said.
Police tell CBS2 Blumenstein is 30 weeks pregnant. She’s a successful Broadway actor, known to many by her stage name Ruthie Ann Miles.
“Their kids are wonderful,” Jennifer Abbott told CBS2’s Reena Roy. “Abby and my son played together at church, go to preschool together. Ruthie is a delight, Lauren is also a lovely mom, wonderful mom. Josh was a sweet baby.”
Meanwhile, police say the driver, from Staten Island, has been released from the hospital and has not yet been charged. Sources say she told investigators she had a seizure behind the wheel, and has since had two strokes after the incident.
A former neighbor says she often appeared to be unwell.
“She’ll come out of the hospital looking all drained out,” Mark Torres said. “She had a lot of medical issues.”
City Councilmember Brad Lander says she should be held accountable for what happened.
“If she had a history of seizures then she should not have gotten behind the wheel,” he told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
Sources tell CBS2 the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, at the urging of the NYPD, has suspended the license of the driver in Monday’s crash.
The community was calling Tuesday for safer streets after several crashes in the same spot. Protesters confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio outside his gym just a block from the scene.
“I wanna hear what is going to happen,” one man asked the mayor.
“I hear the point man, but I also wanna say the enforcement is growing every single year ,” the mayor replied. “I believe most of us are trying to do the same thing. We need stronger laws, we need more consequence, better street design and more across the board.”
Later, the mayor laid flowers and lit candles at a makeshift memorial with First Lady Chirlane McCray, who was visibly emotional.
As for the driver, police say because this is an ongoing investigation, charges are not out of the question although they have not been filed yet.
Funeral arrangements for the two children have not been announced yet.