Driver speeds down the sidewalk in Times Square, killing 1 and injuring 22 (Update)
A driver speeding down a sidewalk in Times Square injured 22 people and killed an 18-year-old woman before his car finally crashed into a metal stanchion. The 26-year-old driver of the car, Richard Rojas, is believed to have been intoxicated and has a history of drunk driving. Authorities say there is no indication at this point that this was an act of terrorism. From the NY Times:
Annie Donahey, 24, had just left work on Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets when the car, a maroon Honda, sped past her and slammed into pedestrians on the sidewalk.
“It was going at a fast rate of speed and to me it looked it was trying to hit as many people as possible,” she said. “People were trying to jump out of the way.”…
Magdy Tawfik, a hot dog vendor near the corner, said the car had struck three people there.
“The car sped through here, it was moving so fast, and it crushed all these people,” he said
Images posted on social media show the Honda Accord resting on a metal stanchion, its wheels off the ground. This press conference indicates Rojas did a U-turn onto the sidewalk and then drove for three blocks before crashing. Also, the 13-year-old sister of the woman who was killed was also struck by the car and is being treated at a nearby hospital:
TMZ published images of the driver immediately after the crash:
That image matches the account of an eyewitness interviewed by Fox 5 News who claims Rojas jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped and ran across the street yelling. Jared Sabater says Rojas was chased by 5 or 6 men who grabbed him and took him down before police arrived seconds later.
Here’s one more eyewitness. This man says it was the bouncer from Planet Hollywood who slugged the driver allowing others to bring him down. I could be mistaken but it looks to me as if you can see the back of this man’s head in the video above holding the suspect on the ground.
The NY Post has identified the woman killed by Rojas as Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan who was visiting the city with her family.
Update: The NY Post reports this was an attempt at suicide-by-cop and Rojas was not drunk:
“You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them,” Richard Rojas, 26, told police, according to sources.
The killer, who’s been arrested twice for DWI, wasn’t drunk when he went on the rampage in the heart of the Big Apple, a high-ranking police official said. Rojas is currently being tested for drugs, as he appeared to be high, according to sources.