Changes promised after kids die in Brooklyn crosswalk

Days after two young children were run over and killed in Brooklyn, state lawmakers are pushing for the passage of a package of bills they say would make streets safer.

Abigail Blumenstein, 4, and Joshua Lew, 1, were killed when the driver of a white Volvo, identified as Dorothy Bruns, 44, stopped and then sped through the red light at 9th Street and 5th Avenue in Park Slope, running over the children and their mothers who were crossing the street. Abigail's mother, the Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles, is pregnant. Her family says it is miraculous that her unborn baby survived. Lauren Lew, Joshua's mother, was also injured.

Investigators are looking into whether Bruns had a medical condition. She hasn't been charged.

"My heart aches today for the families whose children were killed here because my son was killed just blocks from here," said Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Sammy was killed by a driver in 2013. On Friday, Cohen joined elected officials at a press conference at the crash site to support new legislation.

Among the new laws the state legislators announced: requiring doctors to report any medical conditions that could hamper driving to the Department of Motor Vehicles and a 60-day license suspension for any driver that gets two speeding violations within a school zone within a year and a half.

Police have said the car Bruns was driving had been cited four times for speeding near a school.

"She had four violations within a year, and my bill talks about having two violations within a year and a half, so it definitely would have triggered her license being suspended and getting her off the road," said state Sen. Jose Peralta, who is sponsoring several of the bills.

Another proposal would expand the number of speeding cameras near schools, something Cohen and her group Families for Safe Streets has spent years pushing for.

"I hope change finally happens, I hope those elected officials finally realize they don't want blood on their hands," Cohen said.

New York City Transpiration Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced she has instructed planning and engineering experts to analyze and redesign the 9th Street corridor in Park Slope, "including protected bike lanes and other pedestrian safety treatments," according to a statement. 

Keppler Rissman, who lives in the area, just hopes the talk translates to real change.

"It's all about the speed at which they take action," Rissman said. "2016 there was a fatal accident here, and here we are two years later now talking about it again, two years have gone by and nothing has happened."