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One dead, more than 20 injured in Times Square auto rampage

19 May 2017

He says he was walking toward the eatery Thursday when the vehicle barreled down the sidewalk and hit a pole, and driver Richard Rojas got out and started running away.

Alyssa Elsman, 18, died after a man plowed through pedestrians with his vehicle at NYC's Times Square on Thu., May 18, 2017.

The driver has been identified as Richard Rojas, 26. Details were not immediately available.

An 18-year-old woman died and 22 other people were injured in the crash.

Navy records show that Rojas enlisted in September 2011 and was based in IL and Florida, working as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

Rojas enlisted in the service in July 2011 and spent six months on the destroyer USS Carney in 2012 while the ship conducted pirate interdiction operations off the Horn of Africa, naval records show. They don't indicate why.

Police said Mr Rojas had been driving south on Seventh Avenue when he made a quick U-turn at 42nd Street and drove up the footpath for three blocks, passing several tourist haunts along the way. "It's a tough day for New York City, but as usual the people of New York City will stand firm, will be resilient".

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After the auto struck a barricade and stopped, the driver climbed out of his vehicle, Ms Lowe said.

Evan Stemmer, 25, who was visiting NY from Detroit, said he was returning to his hotel with a friend when they heard the sirens and saw the arrest.

"He is a family man, a hard worker, a true friend. He's a United States citizen and a former member of the armed forces with the United States Navy", de Blasio told reporters. For example, he was writing "crazy stuff" on the Internet.

One neighbor says Rojas is a "good person" and he doesn't know what happened to him.

A Planet Hollywood door supervisor tackled the driver who plowed into pedestrians in Times Square Thursday and helped hold him, he told ABC News.

He tested negative for alcohol but it is understood that he is also undergoing tests while in police custody to see if he had taken drugs.

Rojas had dilated pupils - common after a brain injury or drug or alcohol use - and was raving as detectives questioned him in connection with the fatal crash, said a law enforcement source.

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The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Last week, he was arrested and charged after allegedly threatening a notary with a knife.

During this time, he had told police he was being harassed and followed.

Terrorism isn't suspected in the crash.

A man drove his auto the wrong way up a busy Times Square street and ploughed into pedestrians on the footpath, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 others.

Witnesses said Richard Rojas appeared to be intoxicated, and he was taken into custody Thursday afternoon.

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