Car rams into pedestrians in Times Square, killing one
By: with Reuters
Published: 19 May 2017 Image credit: Reuters
At least one person is dead and more than 20 injured after a motorist ploughed his vehicle into pedestrians at New York City’s famed Times Square.
Police say a former US Navy sailor was behind the carnage, with authorities stressing that there is no indication this was an act of terror.
Witnesses say the motorist mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along more than three city blocks, knocking people over before the car hit a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.
Authorities have since identified the man as 26-year-old Richard Rojas, who they claim had been arrested twice for drink-driving in 2008 and 2015, and once earlier this month for menacing.
The incident was initially reminiscent of recent similar vehicle-attacks on pedestrians in Britain, France, Germany, Israel and Sweden.
"People were being hit and rolling off the car," pedestrian Josh Duboff said, before explaining he jumped out of the way to avoid being struck.
An 18-year-old female tourist's body lay covered with a bloodstained blanket while a police officer kept vigil nearby.
Meanwhile, shoes and debris were scattered along the sidewalk.
“Based on information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters in Times Square.
“We all feel deeply right now for those who were injured and for their families.”
The New York Times reports that during his press conference the Honda could be seen laying titled against bollards, its right wheels were in the air and its hood had crumpled.
Some say the car caught fire after crashing.
Mr Rojas, a Navy veteran, will now undergo drug and alcohol testing.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them tourists, pass daily through Times Square, situated at the heart of the Broadway theatre district.