The young driver of the vehicle that struck multiple pedestrians in New York City's Times Square has been taken into custody, according to video reports from the accident scene on Thursday.
De Blasio said the suspect is a U.S. Navy veteran. "He has a criminal history", New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio said. The commissioner said there is no indication that the incident was related to terrorism. News footage showed a red, smoking Honda Accord leaning on its side apparently after crashing into steel barriers and a post at 45th Street, and reports indicated the driver has been extricated from the auto. Authorities and witnesses said Rojas drove his auto the wrong way up a Times Square street and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk.
The driver, 26-year-old Bronx resident Richard Rojas, was taken into custody.
He has two prior arrests for drink-driving, in 2008 and 2015.
Kristen Boyce said she was seconds away from being hit; now she can't get the sound of it mowing down victims out of her head. "Preliminarily it looks more like a vehicle accident than anything else", a NY police spokesman told AFP.
Officials said 22 people were hurt.
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One official said Rojas told authorities when he was arrested previously that he believed he was being followed. Sources said he tried to strike an officer as he was being arrested.
The crash took place at about 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan at around noon local time (5pm BST) with the alleged driver attempting to flee the scene afterwards. "Multiple people injured. Notify everyone". "We don't have any details yet but on the information that we've got so far it looks more like an out of control vehicle at this time".
People rushed to help the injured, who were lying on the sidewalk.
"You know what the traffic is like here, it's quite congested, to hit people and to be catapulted up onto there [the bollard], he would have to have been exceeding the speed limit here".
First responders assist injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, US.
They Tweeted: 'One male in custody in the #TimesSquare vehicle collision. Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building - now One Times Square - the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop.