Tony Award-winner Ruthie Ann Miles was struck by a car in an NYC accident that killed two children after the vehicle allegedly ran a red light.
Miles, who goes by “Ruthie Ann Blumenstein” offstage, was crossing Ninth Street at Fifth Avenue when the driver of a white Volvo allegedly “failed to maintain control,” plowing through the intersection during a red light. Miles was struck, along with two children and two other adults, all of whom suffered “various injuries to their heads and bodies.” According to eyewitnesses, the car continued down the street after it hit the group, only stopping when it ran into a row of parked cars.
The two children, identified as Miles’ 4-year old daughter Abigail and 1-year-old Joshua Lew, were both pronounced dead on arrival. 33-year-old Lauren Lew and an unnamed 46-year-old man were taken to Methodist Hospital along with Miles, where they were all found to be in stable condition.
The driver, identified by news organizations as Staten Island local Dorothy Bruns, says that she suffered a seizure while driving, and has no memory of the incident. Bruns has been ticketed for allegedly driving through red lights four times last year, and was also cited for allegedly speeding in a school area. In a statement to TIME magazine, the NYPD said that Bruns is not in custody and there are currently no charges against her.
On March 6th, family friend Jack Stephens set up a GoFundMe page for the Blumenstein family. While the NYPD said that Miles was in stable condition, the GoFundMe said that she was in critical condition. The page, listed as “a centralized point to accept donations,” raised $418,242 of its $5,000 goal in its first week. “Ruthie is beloved by her many friends and colleagues in the Broadway and touring communities,” Stephens wrote on the page’s description. “She is always kind and always has a smile. It is our honor to help her in this difficult time.” A separate GoFundMe was set up for the Lew family by family friend Patricia Manwaring, to help “alleviate their financial burdens as they prepare to lay their son to rest.” The page, which also aimed to raise $5,000, had raised $225,613 in its first week.
The tragedy triggered an outpouring of support on social media from others involved in New York’s theatre scene. Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the musical Hamilton, tweeted that he was “heartsick for Ruthie and her family” and linked to her GoFundMe. Miranda is one of the many famous names who donated to the page, including Audra McDonald, Rosie O’Donnell, Katie Holmes, Ken Watanabe, Jonathan Groff, Amy Schumer, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
Miles, who won a Tony for “best-supporting actress in a musical” for her role in the 2015 revival of “The King And I,” (seen below) is well-known and loved in the community. She famously starred as Imelda Marcos in Alex Timber’s “Here Lies Love,” and played roles in Avenue Q, Band Geeks, Two By Two, Annie, and Sweeney Todd. Most recently, she played Svetlana Sergievsky in a limited Broadway run of “Chess.”
According to her family, Miles’ condition is improving, and her unborn baby survived the crash. “Ruthie is now out of ICU and healing, by all accounts it is a miracle our second child is unharmed,” family members wrote, in a post on Miles’ Twitter account. “We are extremely grateful for your kindness and generosity.”
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