Car mows down Times Square pedestrians for blocks
A man who appeared to be intoxicated steered his car onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square on Thursday and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks, killing a teenager and injuring 22 others, before he was tackled by bystanders, authorities said.
Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barrelled through the prime tourist location and slammed into a security barrier, coming to rest with two of its wheels in the air. The car leaned on a lamppost and steel barriers intended to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.
“He didn’t stop,’’ said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming. “He just kept going.’’
The driver was tackled by pedestrians and taken into custody. He was being tested for drugs and alcohol and charges against him were pending.
The crash happened at midday on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of people into the streets to enjoy the good weather. Video posted online showed steam or smoke pouring from the car for a few moments after it stopped moving.
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. Rojas had been arrested at least twice previously for driving while intoxicated, once in 2008 and once in 2015, police said. He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken driving program and lost his license for 90 days.