TIMES SQUARE HORROR
A car barreling down a Times Square sidewalk killed a young tourist and injured 22 others in a scene of outrage and panic.
A young woman died and 22 people were injured, four critically, after a speeding Honda Accord plowed through a pedestrian-filled sidewalk in Times Square just before noon on Thursday.
Alyssa Elsman, the 18-year-old woman who died at the scene, was a tourist from Michigan, ABC7 reported. She graduated from Portage Central High School last year, the Detroit Free Press reported. Her 13-year-old sister was with her and was injured in the incident.
All of the injured victims are expected to survive.
The driver, a 26-yearold male, was identified by authorities as Richard Rojas, of the Bronx. Rojas attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended first by outraged citizens and then by NYPD officers. He alleged ly punched a police officer, ABC reported. Officials believe Rojas was high on synthetic marijuana, commonly known as K2. He tested negative for alcohol, the Associated Press reported. “The driver tried to run from the scene, and the bouncer from Planet Hollywood hit him, so we jumped on top of him and ripped his shirt, wanted to make sure he had no gun or knife on him,” a tour ticket agent told CBS2.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Rojas is a veteran of the U.S. Navy with a history of two previous drunk-driving arrests and a May arrest for menacing.
“Based on the info we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” De Blasio said at a news conference in Times Square after the crash.
Within minutes of the crash, witnesses reported on social media that the car had driven onto the sidewalk and struck random passersby before crashing against a pole and coming to a rest at 45th Street and Broadway.
The area was shut down by the NYPD, and nearby offices instructed tenants to “shelter in place.”
A general view of accident site.