Man drives through Times Square, killing 1 and injuring about 20 – Orange County Register

A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York’s Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Police do not suspect a link to terrorism and the driver was taken into custody to be tested for alcohol. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

 

 

By COLLEEN LONG and TOM HAYS

NEW YORK — A man steered his car onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks Thursday, killing a teenager, then emerged from his wrecked vehicle wild-eyed and waving his arms before he was subdued by police and bystanders.

The driver, a 26-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, told officers he was hearing voices and expected to die, according to two law enforcement officials.

Helpless pedestrians had little time to react as the vehicle 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. The car came to rest with its two right wheels in the air.

“He didn’t stop,” said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming as people scattered. “He just kept going.”

Police said 23 people were hit by the car, including an 18-year-old woman who died. The woman’s 13-year-old sister was among the injured.

The carnage raised immediate fears of a terrorist attack, but investigators quickly turned their focus to the sobriety and mental health of the driver, identified as Bronx resident Richard Rojas.

“There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Photographers snapped pictures of Rojas after he climbed from the wrecked car and ran through the street before he was tackled by a group that included a ticket seller and a muscular door supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant.

Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, but more…

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