One killed, 22 injured in New York's Times Square

Cheryl Sanders
May 19, 2017

The driver, a 26-year-old Navy veteran named Richard Rojas, was taken into custody and was undergoing tests for alcohol and drugs, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said. He got to 45th Street and Broadway before his auto was ultimately stopped by special barricades on the side of the street meant to keep cars from driving onto sidewalks.

Alyssa Elsman, 18, of Portage, Michigan, is seen in this Instagram photo. But investigators quickly turned their focus to the sobriety and mental health of the driver, identified as Bronx resident Richard Rojas. "Boom!' And everyone just starts running", she said.

Social media images show injured people on the street, a auto upended at an angle and crowds gathered in the heart of the tourist hub.

Within moments of the incident, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio rushed to the scene.

The panic provoked by a vehicle speeding on sidewalks in the heart of Manhattan immediately evoked the specter of terrorism, but law enforcement officials said they had determined that did not seem to have a role in the episode.

It is believed Rojas wanted to pull a "suicide by cop" because police say he told them, "You were supposed to shoot me!" He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken driving program and lost his license for 90 days.


Police said early indications were that the crash was not terror-related, but tied to a driver with a history of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

The driver, Richard Rojas, 26, was taken into custody after a traffic agent tackled him as he fled from his vehicle, a maroon Honda that came to a stop after ramming into stanchions at the corner of 45th Street and Broadway.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. In 2012 he served aboard the U.S.S. He was most recently based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and was discharged in 2014.

The speeding vehicle jumped the sidewalk on the west side of 7th Avenue at 42nd Street and barreled into pedestrians for three blocks before crashing at the northwest corner of 45th Street, police said. And it's terrifying because I'm here all the time.

An unnamed woman said she was leaving Times Square after taking photographs, and as she and her companions were walking away she heard the crash.

Kelly Graves said she feared the worst, maybe a bomb, as "chaos" erupted and people began running. People were trying to get off the street. he never slowed down.


"The auto was driving at 80 or 85 m/h against traffic, and it came here, I said 'stop! stop! stop!'but it didn't", Abdul Hamid, owner of a food cart at the corner of Broadway and W45W street, told Xinhua.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism.

Planet Hollywood says Bradix "selflessly and heroically took action, helping to stop the fleeing suspect".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before NY authorities confirmed the death.

The maroon sedan vehicle, travelling at high speed, crashed into the group of people and ended up flipping onto its side on the sidewalk, before ambulances and police descended on the area, according to agencies.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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