WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — The driver suspected of plowing into a crowd in New York’s Times Square midday Thursday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 20 others, was arraigned Friday on charges of murder, attempted murder and aggravated vehicular homicide.
Four people remain hospitalized with critical injuries from the crash.
At 11:55 a.m. Thursday, 26-year-old Richard Rojas of the Bronx, a Navy veteran, was driving south on 7th Avenue when he made a quick U-turn at 42nd Street and drove on the sidewalk for three-and-a-half blocks, striking multiple pedestrians until crashing at 45th Street, according to law enforcement.
There is no indication of terrorism, officials said.
After Rojas crashed, he fled the scene but was detained by police and civilians, police said.
The car killed Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan, officials said. Her 13-year-old sister was among the injured.
Witness Annie Donahey told ABC News, “I was walking toward the subway station and the sidewalk that I was on was super crowded. Last minute I decided I was gonna cross the street … I turn around because someone screamed. There’s this red car, full speed, careening down the sidewalk.”
Donahey said one woman she was walking next to was struck by the car. “I looked back and she was in a pile on the street,” Donahey said. “It could’ve been me.”
She continued: “I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t crossed the street. It happened too fast.”
Rojas faces one count of murder, one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and 20 counts of attempted murder.
Rojas has had multiple arrests in the past, including two for drunken driving, police said.
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