Monday, 29 May, 2017

Driver in Times Square crash charged with murder

A bystander has captured scenes of chaos after a car struck pedestrians in New York's busy Times Square Car drives into crowd, kills 1 in New York City's Times Square
Frank Williams | 19 May, 2017, 23:17

First responders are assisting injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, May 18, 2017. He says he was walking toward the eatery Thursday when the auto barreled down the sidewalk and hit a pole, and driver Richard Rojas got out and started running away. His most recent arrest was for menacing; Rojas is a notary and was arrested earlier this month for threatening someone who came to his home to get an annuity notarized, sources said.

"Don't make him out to be a terrorist or something", Ramos said.

Police quickly tackled him and rushed him away from the bloody scene.

It was not immediately clear whether Rojas had a defence lawyer.

The woman who died was 18 years old.

Rojas was also arrested on suspicion of battery in 2012 at the Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was stationed at the time.

United States media report that Rojas has a history of offending and has spent two months in a military prison in SC, although the reasons for this are unclear. They don't indicate why.

The high-speed 11:55 a.m. crash - which authorities initially said appeared accidental, and which is not believed related to global terrorism - left an 18-year-old woman dead at the scene and another 22 injured, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.

New York Police Department assistant chief William Aubry said the incident started at 11.54am local time on Thursday, when a Honda Accord was seen travelling southbound on 7th Avenue in the direction of 42nd Street. "Multiple people injured. Notify everyone". Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured.

According to Reuters, he said after being arrested: "You were supposed to shoot me!"

"I saw a auto driving down 7th Avenue on the sidewalk, and it was smoking", Ken Bradix, who runs security at the Times Square Planet Hollywood, told WNYW. The crash killed Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from MI, officials said. He says Rojas was posting "crazy stuff" online that has since been taken down, according to The Associated Press.

People who lived near Rojas described him as a friendly man who had been having problems.

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Initial tests reportedly came back negative for alcohol but positive for drugs.

He served in the Navy from July 2011 to March 2014, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports.

He told police he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, according to a criminal complaint.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism, but the bomb squad has responded as a precaution to check the vehicle. Witnesses reported that he drove the wrong way and on a sidewalk for at least three blocks, mowing down pedestrians.

The driver, Richard Rojas, is in NYPD custody.

The incident, which unfolded just before noon, is being investigated as an accident, a police official said.

Results of drug tests on Rojas are expected in the next few days, Aubry said. "The screaming saved my life", Andrew, who is from Long Island, said.

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

"Had it not been for the newly-installed bollards on the edge of a pedestrian plaza, which stopped Richard Rojas' vehicle, yesterday's tragedy could have been even worse", White continued. The vehicle crashed into a metal stanchion.

Though his motive remains unclear, a police source said the suspect told investigators he "wanted to kill them".

On Thursday at around 11.55am, U.S. navy veteran Richard Rojas drove a Honda sedan onto the pavement at 45th street towards Times Square, hitting pedestrians before crashing into steel security barriers.

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