Motorist crashes into Times Square crowd, killing one person, injuring 22

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

Alyssa Elsman, 18, was among the pedestrians struck when a man drove the wrong way and onto a sidewalk for at least three blocks, mowing down pedestrians.

"A woman in front on the sidewalk was hit and tossed before then auto reached 44th st, continued plowing people down at full speed up to 45th street, where it was stopped after crashing into more people and the light post pictured", posted Instagram user @semiquasicelebritywannabe, who "saw the vehicle speeding north on the west sidewalk of southbound 7th Ave." from across the street.

Rojas' motivation was unclear but a troubled history has emerged that saw him discharged from the US Navy over disciplinary problems in 2014, following three years of service as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

Navy records show he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013 but do not specify why.

More than 300,000 people, many of them tourists, pass through Times Square every day.

Family friends say Rojas has been living in the Bronx with his mother after serving in the armed forces.

Police said he pointed a kitchen knife at a notary who'd come over to do paperwork, and he accused the notary of stealing his identity.

Brooklyn resident Asa (AY-suh) Lowe was standing outside the Levi's store enjoying the weather when he heard screaming around midday Thursday.

Elsman's 13-year-old sister is among the 22 pedestrians who were hurt. He was in custody, and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney yet who could comment on his behalf.

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.

"Based on the information we have at this moment there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism", the mayor said.

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He was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015, police commissioner James O'Neill said. Initial tests have come back negative for alcohol but positive for drugs.

The man who drove a vehicle into a crowd in Times Square on Thursday was in custody, in which one was killed and 22 others injured, New York's mayor said.

A witness told ABC station WABC that the driver got out of the auto after the crash and ran across the street.

Lowe saw injured people, including a woman who "had tracks all over her body". President Donald Trump, whose home at Trump Tower is one mile from the crash scene, was made aware of the incident nearly immediately and given updates, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted.

People rushed to help the injured, who were lying on the sidewalk.

The official told The Associated Press that the driver was taken into custody after the Thursday lunchtime crash and is being tested for alcohol.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Television images taken at the scene showed people being taken away on stretchers.

According to witnesses, Rojast mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before his auto hit a pole and came to rest on a street in Midtown Manhattan, Reuters reports.

The vehicle was a red Honda sedan and CBS New York Television said the driver had been removed.

Other reports by BadHub

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