Richard Rojas, Driver with Previous DWI’s, Suspected of Plowing Into Times Square Crowd
Suspected DUI Driver Arrested For Plowing Through Crowd In New York
New York, NY – A car plowed into a lunch-hour crowd of pedestrians in Times Square on Thursday. One person was killed, and 22 people were injured, according to CBS New York.
The incident occurred shortly before noon at 45th and 7th Avenue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it was not an act of terror. The car, a red Honda Accord, was reported to be speeding and driving the wrong way up Times Square before it drove into the crowd. It came to a stop after it crashed into barriers.
In the resulting chaos, one person was confirmed dead and 22 were injured. Four of the injured are reported to be in critical condition, although they were expected to recover. Injuries consisted of traumatic injuries including open fractures.
The driver, Richard Rojas, 26, tried to flee and was combative while being taken into custody. He is being tested for alcohol impairment. Rojas is a Navy veteran and has a criminal history including two previous DUI’s.
Police said that he appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol when he was arrested.
In one of his previous arrests, Rojas was reported to be traveling over 99 mph in a 50 mph zone. One witness estimated Rojas’ speed today at 80 mph, according to NBCNewYork.
One witness, Asa Lowe, said “He’s just mowing down people. He didn’t stop. He just kept going.”
Although terrorism is not suspected, the bomb squad was still called out to check the vehicle. The NYPD was making its presence very visible throughout the city, but especially to ‘certain city landmarks’, according to The Star Tribune.
Police said that Rojas made a sharp U-turn onto 42nd Street and then drove up the sidewalk for three blocks, mowing people down who were in his path before slamming into the barrier.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.