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Car mows down Times Square sidewalks, killing 1

  • A car rests on a security barrier in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring at least a dozen people, Thursday, May 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians Thursday, May 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • A car rests on a security barrier in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring at least a dozen people, Thursday, May 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • Investigators look under a smashed car that 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) Seth Wenig

  • Emergency personnel treat a victim after a car ploughed through a crowd of pedestrians during lunchtime at New York's Times Square, 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) Seth Wenig

  • A smashed car, lower right, 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) Seth Wenig

  • Pedestrians try to get a look at a car crash while police officers push them back in Times Square in New York, Thursday, May 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig

  • First responders assist one of the victims of a car crash, Thursday in New York. ap photo

  • New York's Times Square is closed off by police vehicles following a car crash, lower right, Thursday, May 18, 2017. A man who appeared intoxicated drove his car the wrong way up the Times Square street and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk injuring dozens authorities and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

  • Investigators works at the scene of a car crash, Thursday, in New York's Times Square. ap photo

  • 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) Seth Wenig

  • A police officer inspects a car crash, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in New York's Times Square. A man who appeared intoxicated drove his car the wrong way up the Times Square street and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk injuring dozens authorities and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

  • A woman is escorted from the scene of car crash on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square, 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/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer



Associated Press
Thursday, May 18, 2017

NEW YORK — A man who appeared to be intoxicated steered his car onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square on Thursday and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks, killing a teenager and injuring 22 others, before he was tackled by bystanders, authorities said.

Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barreled through the prime tourist location and slammed into a security barrier, coming to rest with two of its wheels in the air. The car leaned on a lamppost and steel barriers intended to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

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

The driver was tackled by pedestrians and taken into custody. He was being tested for drugs and alcohol and charges against him were pending. The crash happened at midday on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of people into the streets to enjoy the good weather. Video posted online showed steam or smoke pouring from the car for a few moments after it stopped moving.

The driver, a 26-year-old Navy veteran named Richard Rojas, was taken into custody and was undergoing tests for alcohol and drugs, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. Rojas had been arrested at least twice previously for driving while intoxicated, once in 2008 and once in 2015, police said. He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken driving program and lost his license for 90 days.

He was arrested last week on a charge of menacing. Police said he pointed a kitchen knife at a notary who’d come over to do paperwork, and he accused the notary of stealing his identity. The case is pending.

In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, according to a law enforcement official. Investigators were searching his Bronx home and canvassing the crime scene for video.

The crash killed an 18-year-old woman, and the injured included her 13-year-old sister, police said.