Teen dies as car ca­reens down N.Y. side­walk

The Province - - NEWS | WORLD - COLLEEN LONG — With files from The Washington Post

NEW YORK — 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.

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.”

“It was go­ing at a fast rate of speed and to me it looked like it was try­ing to hit as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble,” Annie Don­a­hey, 24, told the New York Times. “Peo­ple were try­ing to jump out of the way.”

The driver was tack­led by pedes­tri­ans and taken into cus­tody. He was be­ing tested for drugs and al­co­hol and charges are pending.

The crash killed an 18-year-old woman, and the in­jured in­cluded her 13-year-old sis­ter, po­lice said.

The driver, a 26-year-old Navy vet­eran named Richard Ro­jas, was taken into cus­tody and was un­der­go­ing tests for al­co­hol and drugs, po­lice 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 li­cence for 90 days.

In pre­vi­ous ar­rests, he told au­thor­i­ties he be­lieved he was be­ing ha­rassed and fol­lowed, ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial who wasn’t au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly.

Ro­jas en­listed in the Navy in 2011 and was an elec­tri­cian’s mate fire­man ap­pren­tice, ac­cord­ing to the Navy. He was most re­cently based at the Naval Air Sta­tion in Jack­sonville, Fla., and was dis­charged in 2014.

The crash hap­pened at mid­day on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of peo­ple into the streets to en­joy the good weather.

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