Date
21 October 2017
Investigators cordon off an area in Times Square in New York on Thursday after a motorist crashed his vehicle into pedestrians on a sidewalk, Photo: Reuters
Investigators cordon off an area in Times Square in New York on Thursday after a motorist crashed his vehicle into pedestrians on a sidewalk, Photo: Reuters

One killed, 22 hurt as car plows into crowd in NY’s Times Square

A man plowed his car into pedestrians in New York City’s packed Times Square on Thursday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 people.

The driver, a 26-year-old American citizen named Richard Rojas, was taken into custody by the police. 

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 car hit a pole and came to rest on a street in Midtown Manhattan, Reuters reports.

Officials said there was no indication the incident was an act of terrorism.

Initial reports of the incident brought to mind vehicle attacks on pedestrians in recent months in Britain, France, Germany, Israel and Sweden.

Police records show that Rojas, who had served in the US navy, had been arrested twice for drunken driving in 2008 and 2015, and once earlier this month on a charge of menacing.

Security camera footage showed the car slam into pedestrians who moments earlier were ambling along, some carrying shopping bags and others pushing baby strollers.

The incident took place close to noon on a bright, sunny day.

The dead woman was named by police as Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old who was on vacation with her family from Michigan.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them tourists from around the world, pass daily through Times Square, the heart of the Broadway theater district.

Quoting unnamed police sources, ABC News said Rojas had apparently been high on synthetic marijuana when he crashed into his victims on Thursday.

Initial tests came back negative for alcohol, according to law enforcement sources.

After the incident, authorities cordoned off an area for several hours, effectively shutting down one of the busiest parts of one of the busiest cities in the world.

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RC

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