Times Square Crash Suspect in Police Custody

Gladys Abbott
May 19, 2017

Police said 23 people were hit by the vehicle, including an 18-year-old woman who died.

Brad Hoylman, a NY state senator, was nearby and arrived at Times Square moments after the crash.

Times Square averaged about 360,000 daily visitors in April, according to a tally by the Times Square Alliance, making it one of the most visited locations in the world. They said he had been arrested twice for drunken driving in 2008 and 2015, and once earlier this month for menacing.

City authorities were nevertheless deploying extra police from anti-terror units to key locations around the U.S. financial and cultural capital, home to 8.5 million, out of "an abundance of caution", the mayor said. Rojas is a Navy veteran who was arrested last week after he pointed a knife at a notary and accused the notary of stealing his identity.

Rojas made a U-turn onto a sidewalk in Times Square, according to the New York Police Department.

'He just got his vehicle back, a Honda, ' said Jose Medrano, 27. 'He was happy about it.

22 others were injured when Rojas allegedly sped his vehicle up on the sidewalk.

The driver of the vehicle, a 26-year-old Bronx man named Richard Rojas, reportedly has a history of DWI arrests. "This hurts, this makes me feel bad this news", neighbor Jose Medrano said.

More news: Celtics, Lakers, 76ers have plenty riding on the National Basketball Association lottery

"He didn't stop", said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming as people scattered.

The New York Post reported that when the auto eventually crashed into a pole, the driver got out of the vehicle and tried to run away, according to witnesses.

Rojas returned from his Navy service with a drinking problem and had posted "crazy stuff" on social media, said a friend, Harrison Ramos, speaking to Reuters outside the apartment building where Rojas lives in New York City's Bronx borough.

The officials said Rojas told officers he had been hearing voices. Rojas was charged with misdemeanour battery and resisting an officer without violence, but it was unclear how the case was resolved.

Then came the horrifying moment: The burgundy Honda accord drove onto the sidewalk, scooping up five pedestrians over the hood and tossing them aside like bowling pins.

Witnesses said they were afraid the crash may have been an act of terrorism. He was in custody, and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney yet who could comment on his behalf. PHOTOS: Car plows into crowd in Times Square The NYPD released a statement, saying, "It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation". She watched the auto slam into a steel divider and catch fire, she said. "I saw a gentleman underneath the auto, and another gentleman was pulling him out, and it was a real mess".

A wrecked vehicle sits in the intersection of 45th and Broadway in Times Square, May 18, 2017 in New York City. More than 20 others were injured.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER