Times Square crash driver charged with murder

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

A man plowed his vehicle into pedestrians in New York City's packed Times Square on Thursday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 people.

While investigators were uncertain late Thursday whether Rojas was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, an NYPD source shot down early reports he had taken K2, a potent version of synthetic marijuana that can cause irrational behavior.

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig). A smashed vehicle sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Rojas's lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment.

Richard Rojas, 26, knocked pedestrians into the air as he sped for three blocks in his burgundy Honda sedan through one of the city's busiest areas on Thursday before crashing into a metal stanchion, the New York Police Department said.

The apartment building where Rojas lives was cordoned off by police Thursday.

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Rojas appeared subdued during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed a felony murder charge. He barreled straight up the sidewalk, knocking down some pedestrians as others ran in terror, before he crashed his auto into protective barriers.

He did not enter a plea, and is due back in court next week.

The deceased teenager, named in media reports as 18-year-old MI tourist Alyssa Elsman, was walking with her 13-year-old sister, who was injured. Then, a traffic agent told Bradix to "get". A group that included a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant tackled him. He pleaded guilty last week to harassment in the Bronx after he was accused of pulling a knife on a notary in his home. He also had two drunk driving arrests. In 2012 he served aboard the U.S.S. The Bronx native enlisted to the US Navy in 2011 and spent two months at a naval prison in SC in 2013. The driver has previously been charged and arrested with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon for threatening a man.

A neighborhood friend in the Bronx, Harrison Ramos, said Rojas wasn't the same when he came back from the Navy in 2014.

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.

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