Driver rams into Times Square crowd

The Washington Post - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

A ve­hi­cle driv­ing through New York City’s bustling Times Square plowed into a crowd, killing an 18-year-old woman and in­jur­ing 22 others dur­ing Thurs­day’s lunchtime rush, author­i­ties said.

The driver, who was iden­ti­fied by po­lice as 26-year-old Richard Ro­jas, was driv­ing down Sev­enth Av­enue in Man­hat­tan when he made a sud­den U-turn, mounted a side­walk and drove at a “high rate” for sev­eral blocks, strik­ing un­sus­pect­ing pedes­tri­ans along the way, author­i­ties said. An 18year-old woman was killed, author­i­ties said, and her 13-yearold sis­ter was in­jured. Po­lice did not re­lease in­for­ma­tion on the other vic­tims.

Mayor Bill de Bla­sio (D) said dur­ing an af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence that there is no in­di­ca­tion the in­ci­dent was re­lated to ter­ror­ism.

Just min­utes be­fore noon, a maroon Honda Ac­cord made a U-turn on Sev­enth Av­enue and started speed­ing the wrong way from 42nd to 45th Street, ac­cord­ing to author­i­ties and wit­nesses.

Peo­ple de­scribed the hor­ror on so­cial me­dia, say­ing a car had driven onto a side­walk in Times Square, mowed pedes­tri­ans down and crashed. Wit­nesses said the wounded were “lay­ing on the side­walks” and others were “scream­ing and run­ning, the place is swarm­ing with emer­gency ve­hi­cles and cops.” Those in the area were told to shel­ter-in-place while emer­gency crews ar­rived at the scene.

The Honda Ac­cord that Ro­jas was driv­ing sat smol­der­ing, tilted on one side, at the cor­ner of 45th Street.

Author­i­ties said Ro­jas is a U.S. Navy vet­eran with a crim­i­nal his­tory that in­cludes two ar­rests for drunken driv­ing. Af­ter the in­ci­dent Thurs­day, Ro­jas was taken into cus­tody and was be­ing tested for drugs and al­co­hol, po­lice said. Po­lice have not yet re­leased the re­sults of the tests.

MIKE SE­GAR/REUTERS

A ve­hi­cle that mowed down pedes­tri­ans and later crashed lies on the side­walk in Times Square. One woman was killed and 22 in­jured in the crash. The driver, 26-year-old Richard Ro­jas, who has two prior ar­rests for drunken driv­ing, was taken into cus­tody and tested for drugs and al­co­hol.

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