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Car drives wrong way in Times Square and hits crowds; 1 dead

19 May, 2017, 17:50 | Author: Mae Harvey
  • A driver ran over a group of pedestrians in New York City's Times Square on May 18. See video from the scene.                      Joseph Azam via Storyful

In one of his two previous DWI arrests, Rojas was driving faster than 99 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone, sources familiar with his record say.

"A woman in front on the sidewalk was hit and tossed before then auto reached 44th st, continued plowing people down at full speed up to 45th street, where it was stopped after crashing into more people and the light post", posted Instagram user Ed G Val, who from across the street "saw the vehicle speeding north on the west sidewalk of southbound 7th Ave".

Rojas was in custody and unable to comment.

Witnesses said they saw several people being taken away from the crash site on a stretcher. Instead, preliminary findings suggest that the unnamed driver was most likely under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Chaos and bloodshed rocked crowded Times Square on Thursday when a auto roared the wrong way up a one-way street and slammed into dozens of pedestrians, killing a woman and injuring 22 people, authorities said.

Times Square, New York: A auto rammed pedestrians around noon.

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

"People just got stunned", said Bruno Carvalho, a student at SUNY Albany.

'People were being hit and rolling off the auto, ' said Josh Duboff, who works at the nearby Thomson Reuters headquarters.

Rojas "got out of his vehicle and started trying to punch people and tackle people", Rickerby said.

He expressed sympathy for those injured and especially for the woman who was killed and her family.

Senior law enforcement officials have identified the driver as Richard Rojas, age 26, from the Bronx, New York.

Helpless pedestrians had little time to react as the auto barreled down the sidewalk and through intersections before smashing into a row of steel security barriers installed in recent years to prevent vehicle attacks on the square where massive crowds gather every New Year's Eve. Twenty-two other people were injured in the incident.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before NY authorities confirmed the death. Law enforcement is testing the driver for alcohol while in custody, the Associated Press reported.

Trump is holding a news conference at the White House later Thursday with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

He drove some three and a half blocks, mowed down 22 pedestrians-including the deceased, an 18-year-old woman walking with her 13-year-0ld sister-before smashing into a pole and attempting to flee on foot, though a traffic agent tackled him before he could escape far.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism.

Footage from the scene shows people lying crumpled on the pavement with one covered by a bloodstained blanket.

Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barreled through the prime tourist location and slammed into a security barrier, coming to rest with two of its wheels in the air.

Times Square was the scene of the most serious security alert in America s most populous city since the September 11, 2001 attacks when Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani immigrant, planted a vehicle bomb at the intersection on May 1, 2010.

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