Rojas's maroon sedan vehicle, travelling at high speed, crashed into the group of people and ended up flipping onto its side on the sidewalk, before ambulances and police descended on the area, the AFP photographer said.
At least one person was killed Thursday when a vehicle hit a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square, according to fire officials in New York City.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in a press release that the ordeal is "nothing short of horrific".
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said US President Donald Trump "has been made aware" of the incident.
Times Square also has a heavy police presence at all hours of the day and night.
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The driver, a 26-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, told officers he was hearing voices and expected to die, two law enforcement officials said.
Times Square had previously been the target in attempted attacks, such as in May of 2010 when a Pakistani man placed an alleged vehicle bomb in an intersection.
Helpless pedestrians had little time to react as the auto barreled down the sidewalk and through intersections before smashing into a row of steel security barriers installed in recent years to prevent vehicle attacks on the square where massive crowds gather every New Year's Eve.
The auto came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk. O'Neill reiterated that at the moment there is no indication that the incident is "terror related". A block from the scene people were asking each other what had happened.
Thursday's mayhem began at noon 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 vehicle for a few moments after it stopped moving.
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Lowe says the driver then got out of his auto and started running until people tackled him.
Police who took the 26-year-old driver into custody identified him as Richard Rojas, of the New York City borough the Bronx. One of those injured was the 13-year-old sister of the woman who was fatally struck.
"He just started running until people tackled him down", Lowe said. "Out of an abundance of caution major sites in this city will get additional police coverage from our anti-terror units".
One official says Rojas told authorities when arrested previously that he believed he was being followed.
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