Richard Ro­jas, driver in Times Square crash: What we know

Metro USA (New York) - - News - KIM­BERLY M. AQUILINA

The man who drove for three blocks on the side­walk in Times Square was Richard Ro­jas, Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said at a Thurs­day news con­fer­ence.

Wit­nesses said the mo­torist was driv­ing against traf­fic be­fore his Honda sedan mounted the side­walk and struck pedes­tri­ans. The car hit a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broad­way be­fore police took the driver away.

Here is what you need to know about the driver:

Ro­jas is a mil­i­tary vet­eran.

“The per­pe­tra­tor is in cus­tody; he’s a United States cit­i­zen and former mem­ber of the armed forces with the United States Navy,” de Bla­sio said.

Ro­jas has a crim­i­nal his­tory.

Of­fi­cials said Ro­jas has two prior ar­rests for DWI – in 2008 in Queens and in 2015 in Man­hat­tan – and was last ar­rested this month for men­ac­ing.

U.S. Navy records show Ro­jas en­listed in Septem­ber 2011 and was based in Illi­nois and Florida, work­ing as an elec­tri­cian’s mate fire­man ap­pren­tice.

He was ar­rested a year later at a naval base in Jack­sonville, Florida, where of­fi­cials said he at­tacked a cab driver, shouted “my life is over” and threat­ened to kill police, ac­cord­ing to court records. Ro­jas was charged with mis­de­meanor bat­tery and re­sist­ing an of­fi­cer with­out vi­o­lence, but it was un­clear how the case was re­solved.

U.S. Navy records show he spent two months in a mil­i­tary prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the sum­mer of 2013, but did not say why. He left the Navy in May 2014.

His blood al­co­hol test was neg­a­tive.

An of­fi­cial told The New York Times af­ter the ar­rest that Ro­jas ap­peared to be ei­ther drunk or un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs, but his blood test came back neg­a­tive for al­co­hol, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported. He is now be­lieved to have been un­der the in­flu­ence of K2, a syn­thetic mar­i­juana.

Ro­jas is not be­lieved to be a ter­ror­ist.

Of­fi­cials stressed there is no in­di­ca­tion of ter­ror­ism, but they did not dis­close what Ro­jas said to them when he was ap­pre­hended.

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

Ini­tial re­ports of the in­ci­dent re­vived mem­o­ries of July last year when a man driv­ing a truck killed at least 84 peo­ple, 10 of them chil­dren, and in­jured 202 in the French city of Nice. Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Ro­jas lives in the Bronx.

Of­fi­cials said Ro­jas is an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen who lives in the Bronx.

GETTY IMAGES

A wounded civil­ian is taken away on a stretcher.

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