Jueves, 25 May, 2017

Vehicle slams into pedestrians in Times Square, killing 18-year-old woman

This tilted red sedan drove into a crowded Times Square injuring several and killing one This tilted red sedan drove into a crowded Times Square injuring several and killing one
Eleena Tovar | 19 May, 2017, 19:55

NEW YORK (AP) - Police say an 18-year-old woman killed by a auto that plowed through pedestrians in Times Square was a tourist from Portage, Michigan.

The driver of the auto that careened through New York City's Times Square on Thursday was a US Navy veteran who had been arrested at least four times before for offenses including drunk driving and threatening someone with a knife, according to police officials and public records.

Twitter user Michael Rickerby wrote: "Just witnessed a auto running people over in Times Square". Her 13-year-old sister was with her at the time, and was injured in the incident.

A neighborhood friend in the Bronx, Harrison Ramos, said Rojas wasn't the same when he came back from the Navy in 2014.

The carnage raised immediate fears of terrorism, fuddled by recent attacks in England, France and Germany in which vehicles ploughed through crowds of pedestrians.

Rojas told the officers he beat the cab driver because the driver said he owed him $162 and disrespected him.

Rojas was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said, losing his licence for 90 days.

Rojas, a former Navy electrician mate fireman's apprentice, has been charged with one count of murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five of aggravated vehicular homicide.

In the Bronx, neighbours of Rojas was a friendly man who had been having problems.

A week ago, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity. He pleaded guilty to harassment, a violation, and was not sentenced to any prison time. In 2012 he served aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer.

Navy records show he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013 but do not specify why. They do not indicate why.

"People just got stunned", said Bruno Carvalho, a student at SUNY Albany.

Police identified the woman killed by the vehicle as Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan.

He also told police that he expected to be shot dead following the act.

The sidewalks in many parts of Times Square and surrounding blocks are lined with metal posts created to prevent cars from getting onto the sidewalks and other public areas.

"We're all kind of a mess", Eric Alburtus, principal of Portage Central High School, from which Elsman graduated previous year, told the Detroit Free Press. It was not immediately clear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

'She would always text me back as quick as she could and when I didn't hear from her or her friend I knew something disgusting happened, ' said West.