MI teen visiting NY killed in Times Square crash

Cameron Gross
May 19, 2017

Richard Rojas, who allegedly drove a speeding auto through a crowd in Times Square Thursday has been charged with 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, CNN reports.

Richard Rojas is escorted from the 7th precinct by New York City Police officers after being processed in connection with the speeding vehicle that struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York City, U.S. May 18, 2017.

"Our Consulate General is closely coordinating with NY authorities and is ready to provide consular assistance to affected Filipinos should it be needed", the DFA said in a statement.

The NYPD took Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, into custody.

A Reuters witness said one person was covered with a bloodstained blanket after the collision, which occurred around noon ET (1600 GMT) at the Midtown Manhattan tourist venue. Details of the circumstances were not immediately available.

Rojas enlisted in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. He spent two months in military prison in Charleston, South Carolina after being court martialed. They don't indicate why.

Times Square also has a heavy police presence at all hours of the day and night.

The deceased was identified as Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old from MI. Seven people were being placed on stretchers, a Reuters witness said.

Rojas' motivation was unclear, but Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was "no indication that this was an act of terrorism". Her 13-year-old sister was transported to a hospital.

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He said: "She would always text me back as quick as she could and when I didn't hear from her or her friend, I knew something terrible happened".

Then, a traffic agent told Bradix to "get him", he said.

"The vehicle, occupied by a male driver, proceeded to drive at a high rate of speed along the sidewalk, from 42nd Street to 45th Street, striking a number of pedestrians along the way", O'Neill said.

A fire department chief, Mark Foris, was at an unrelated elevator rescue when he saw the vehicle speed by.

Brad Hoylman, a NY state senator, was nearby and arrived at Times Square moments after the crash.

Broadway shows were scheduled to go ahead as planned on Thursday evening in the many theaters in the area, organizers said.

He says the driver was "just mowing down people".

"I've served at Portage Central High School for a long time now and we have lost absolutely incredible young men and young women and it never gets easier we always feel the loss", Alburtus, said.

The Navy veteran suspected of driving his vehicle into pedestrians in NY reportedly told police he had been hearing voices at the time.

Other reports by BadHub

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