New York Car Mows Pedestrians

New York Car Mows PedestriansNew York Car Mows Pedestrians

A wrong-way driver plowed into pedestrians in the heart of Manhattan’s bustling Times Square district minutes before noon on Thursday, killing at least one person and injuring nearly two dozen others, city officials said.

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

The driver of the 2009 Honda Accord, identified as 26-year-old Richard Rojas, was in custody and was charged late Thursday with second degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, police said.

He has a history of arrests for driving while intoxicated, as well as other infractions. Rojas was arrested for DWI in Queens in 2008 and earlier this month for menacing.

Two law enforcement sources say Rojas claims he heard voices and investigators are looking into the possibility it was a deliberate act.

“I was in shock, I was screaming,” witness Kristen Boyce said. “No one even saw it coming.”

Police said an officer tackled Rojas at the scene after he climbed out of the car, which could be seen partially lifted off the ground. The suspect was being tested for possible drug or alcohol intoxication.

The person who was killed was identified by police as Alyssa Elsman of Portage, Michigan. The deceased victim’s 13-year-old sister was among the injured and was taken to the hospital, police said.

Of the 22 injured, 17 were taken to area hospitals, with four of those suffering what were described as serious injuries, the Fire Department said. Five people who were hurt declined medical attention at the scene.

De Blasio, a Homeland Security official in Washington, also told NBC News that based on the preliminary information from authorities in New York this “appears to be an accident”.

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