Losing only child prompted parents to march for traffic safety

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn — Debbie and Harold Kahn were carrying posters with their son, Seth’s, smiling picture on them at a march they wished they didn’t need to attend.

Seth Kahn, 22, was fatally hit by a city bus on November 4, 2009, as he was crossing Ninth Avenue at 53rd Street in Manhattan. He was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, developing new game concepts.

“He was our only child,” his mother Debbie told PIX11.

Seth’s parents worked through their continuing pain by helping to found the organization, Families for Safe Streets. The group marched Monday night in Park Slope, Brooklyn with a number of other activists, like Transportation Alternatives, to drive home the need for an overhaul in street designs and Department of Motor Vehicle laws. The current laws don’t impose “points” penalties on drivers who get caught—and fined—by speed cameras on the streets.

The Kahns and several hundred others were marching on 9th Street in Park Slope to the spot on Fifth Avenue where a driver had accelerated her white Volvo last Monday, hitting — and fatally dragging — 1-year-old Joshua Lew and also killing 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein. Abigail’s pregnant mother, Tony Award-winning actress Ruthie Ann Miles, was rushed to the hospital, where doctors were able to save her and her unborn child. The mother of Joshua Lew was also sent to the hospital.

Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, was a co-sponsor of the march and noted “The children are traumatized,” when PIX11 asked him to describe the mood of the families he met in the last week.

So many families walked a four block route from Prospect Park West to the corner of 9th Street and Fifth Avenue, where the tragedy happened last week. Surveillance footage showed Dorothy Bruns, the 44 year old driver of the white Volvo, stopping at the red light at Fifth Avenue and 9th Street, before inching out onto Fifth Avenue and then suddenly accelerating, plowing into the children and their moms.

PIX11 noticed the huge memorial of flowers and candles outside a bank near the crash site. One local resident even left a stroller in honor of 1-year-old Joshua, the tiny vehicle filled with flowers and plush, toy animals.

“Cars are the biggest perpetrators of traffic violence,” said Dave, a Brooklyn bicyclist who kept up with the march on 9th Street’s bike lane.

Statistics actually show that 2017 had the fewest number of pedestrians killed in fatal accidents since New York City started keeping numbers

But there was an uptick in bicyclist deaths and even in the pedestrian deaths in Brooklyn.

The grandmother and mother of 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein were carrying posters with his picture, too.

Sammy’s grandmother said Sammy was fatally hit by a speeding van near Third Street by Prospect Park. The driver was caught.

“He got minimum punishment, a six-month suspended sentence,” Sammy Cohen’s grandmother said.