Arraignment set for Richard Rojas on charges in Times Square crash
Arraignment set for Richard Rojas on charges in Times Square crash
Speeding vehicle strikes pedestrians in New York City's Times Square
20 May, 2017, 05:32
Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old girl visiting the popular tourist hotspot with her family died during the incident, with 22 others seriously injured.
According to the arrest report, Rojas said the cabbie had disrespected him by trying to charge too much. He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken driving program and lost his license for 90 days.
Initial tests were negative for alcohol, but more detailed drug tests were pending, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
He was arrested last week on a charge of menacing.
A week ago, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity. The case is pending.
Investigators were searching his Bronx home and canvassing the crime scene for video.
He spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.
Officials are awaiting toxicology results, though Rojas "had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady", during his arrest, the complaint said.
"Don't make him out to be a terrorist or something", Ramos said.
Navy records show Rojas enlisted in September 2011 and was based in IL and Florida, working as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.
Witnesses described their horror at seeing a vehicle race through the area.
Bruno Carvalho, a student at SUNY Albany, said the auto approached quickly and passed him on the sidewalk.
"People just got stunned", he said. "First he punched me a couple of times and then he started kicking me and got on top of me and telling me that he would kill me".
"This place?" Balde said.
He also said he expected to die, the sources told AP news agency.
Annette Proehl, of Pennsylvania, was in Times Square with children on a field trip when she heard the screeching tires of the vehicle and people screaming.
After the wreck he emerged from his vehicle running, yelling and jumping before being subdued by police and bystanders in a chaotic scene.
The Planet Hollywood worker, Ken Bradix, told Associated Press: "He began screaming, no particular words but just utter screaming". He was tackled shortly after by a group that included a ticket seller and a muscular door supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant. "There was something wrong with him".
"A woman in front on the sidewalk was hit and tossed before then vehicle 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 auto speeding north on the west sidewalk of southbound 7th Ave".
The sidewalks around Times Square are secured with more than 200 steel bollards meant to prevent accidental or criminal vehicle intrusions, said Rob Reiter, chief security consultant for CalPipe Security Bollards.
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.
Information for this article was contributed by Colleen Long, Libby Quaid, Jennifer Peltz, Jake Pearson and Tom Hays of The Associated Press and by Eli Rosenberg, William K. Rashbaum, Andy Newman, Daniel Victor, Christine Hauser, Ashley Southall and Liam Stack of The New York Times.
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