'A parent's worst nightmare': 2 kids with Hawaii ties killed, actress hurt in NY crash

In the wake of the crash, there's been an outpouring of support for the families from Broadway and the islands. (Image: Peggy Anne Sigmund)
In the wake of the crash, there's been an outpouring of support for the families from Broadway and the islands. (Image: Peggy Anne Sigmund)
Ruthie Ann Miles poses with mentor Darryl Loo, a retired Kaimuki High teacher, and her daughter, Albigail. (Image: Darryl Loo)
Ruthie Ann Miles poses with mentor Darryl Loo, a retired Kaimuki High teacher, and her daughter, Albigail. (Image: Darryl Loo)

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 4-year-old daughter of a Tony-award winning actress from Hawaii was killed Monday along with another young child when a driver allegedly ran a red light and plowed into them in a Brooklyn crosswalk.

New York media outlets described the scene as horrific.

Struck were Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Blumenstein, who goes by the stage name Ruthie Ann Miles, and her 4-year-old daughter, Abigail. Blumenstein, who is pregnant, was hospitalized after the crash while her daughter was pronounced dead at the scene, according to reports.

Family said Tuesday that Blumenstein was recovering and that her unborn child was unharmed.

Two others with Hawaii ties were also hit: Lauren Lew and her 1-year-old son, Joshua.

Lew was said to be injured, while Joshua was killed in the crash. A 46-year-old man was also struck by the car and was expected to survive.

Retired teacher Darryl Loo mentored Blumenstein at Kaimuki High and is something of a father figure to her. On Monday afternoon, Blumenstein's husband called Loo to tell him what happened.

"It was quite a shock," Loo said.

He said Blumenstein is seven months pregnant.

"We're angry at this situation," Loo said. "We'll make plans and visit as soon as we find out more. Ruthie Ann is very strong in her church so she has that support as well."

MJ Matsushita, coordinator of the Performing Arts Learning Center at Kaimuki High, said the school couldn't be prouder of Blumenstein's accomplishments, "which is why it's so devastating to hear the news that such a terrible thing would happen to be somebody like that. It's hard to imagine."

Peggy Ann Siegmund, former performing arts director at Kaimuki High, saw Blumenstein last November in New York and called her "multi-talented, generous, kind and humble."

"It's a parent's worst nightmare," Siegmund said. "Ruthie, so many people love and care. There's nothing we can do and that's heartbreaking."

The driver, a 44-year-old woman from Staten Island, is seen on surveillance footage in a white Volvo stopping at the big, busy intersection on Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue about 12:40 p.m.. But the car slowly starts moving before it speeds up and strikes people in the crosswalk.

Photos of the scene show the black stroller mangled on the roadside and the car wrecked after striking a parked car.

Witnesses described the scene as something out of a "horror movie." They said the car dragged the little boy's stroller more than 350 feet.

"It was mayhem. Just crossing the street, everybody yelling," witness Jennifer Muniz told NBC 4 in New York.

Witness Debbie LaSalle was crossing the same intersection when she saw the Volvo speed by, she told the New York Daily News.

"It was horrible to watch," LaSalle, 44, said. "I'm still in shock. The white car was going really fast. The pregnant mother was facedown and the baby flew into the street. She dragged the stroller and the other baby was pinned under the car."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the crash "really, really sad" and said an investigation into what happened is ongoing.

"This loss of life is tragic and painful for all of us, particularly all of us who are parents," he said.

The driver who struck the group was taken away in an ambulance, and has not been charged. A New York Police Department spokesman said it did not appear to be intentional, and that authorities are looking into her medical history and driving record.

Blumenstein, a 2001 Kaimuki High graduate, won a Tony award in 2015 for her role in "The King and I." Other credits include Imelda Marcos in "Here Lies Love" and roles in "Avenue Q," "Annie" and "Sweeney Todd."

Greg Zane, associate choreographer for "The King and I," said Blumenstein was set to reprise her role for a London revival of the show this summer.

"She was so excited to be going to London and having her family there and to have the new baby there with them and working on a show that she loves with people she loves," Zane said. "It was a new adventure to look forward to."

Broadway stars, including Kristin Chenoweth of "Wicked," took to social media after the crash to express sympathy.

Chenoweth tweeted: "sending love to you and your family there are no words. Except you are loved."

Meanwhile, Hawaii actress Loretta Ables Sayre, who has also performed on Broadway, said she was "absolutely devastated" at the news.

"It's just hard to even imagine someone going through the horror of being hit by a car, but to lose your child at the same time, it's unimaginable," Sayre said. "It's too painful to even try to consider what that's like."

As of Tuesday afternoon, a GoFundMe page for Blumenstein had raised nearly $300,000. A separate page for the Lew family had collected $130,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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