Bay Area man describes chaotic scene after car plows into Times Square crowd
19 May, 2017, 19:33
The driver who rammed into a crowded Times Square on Thursday, killing a woman and injuring 22 others, has been charged with 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, according to the New York Police Department.
Bronx resident Richard Rojas, 26, a Navy veteran with a criminal history, was charged late Thursday with murder in the second degree and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide hours after the daytime horror that left an 18-year-old MI tourist dead and 22 others injured, cops said.
Witnesses said the motorist mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda saloon auto and sped along more than three city blocks, knocking people over before the vehicle hit a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.
Rojas is now being held at Bellevue Hospital.
One pregnant woman at the scenesaid: "A man pulled me out of the way of the auto". She heard screaming. Fearing the auto would hit her, she ran to a nearby building's revolving door.
Richard Rojas, the 26-year-old suspect, was taken into custody after he allegedly mounted the sidewalk on 7th Avenue in Manhattan, plowing through pedestrians at high speeds, creating a chaotic and terrifying scene amid the afternoon lunch rush at one of the busiest intersections in the world.
"So out of an abundance of caution, major sites in this city will get additional police coverage from our anti-terror units", De Blasio said. It is unclear at this time what condition her sister is in, though four of the injured are in critical condition, according to officials.
When Long went outside, she saw at least six people lying on the ground, including a woman lying face-down with blood pouring from her head.
A tourist from Argentina told CNN affiliate WABC that he was shocked to see the auto that "was like bowling, hitting people". Her name was Alyssa Elsman and she had been visiting from MI with her family. She ran into a building and prayed, she said.
"It was more of a surreal thing", she said.
The vehicle then caught fire.
Proehl was hit by a piece of gravel but otherwise was not injured, she said. "We initially thought they were filming something".
"It's a tough day for New York City, but as usual the people of New York City will stand firm, will be resilient", de Blasio said in a news conference.
She graduated a year ago from Portage Central High School. "And now that she's gone, I don't know how I'm going to fill that void", Mr West said. President Donald Trump, whose home at Trump Tower is one mile from the crash scene, is aware of the incident and will be updated, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted.
The vehicle drove against traffic and onto the sidewalk when it struck the pedestrian.
One investigator told the New York Times Mr Rojas had so far offered no coherent explanation, and was "just rambling and saying insane stuff".