A speeding car killed one woman and injured 22 other pedestrians in New York’s Times Square on Thursday afternoon.
The suspected driver, Richard Rojas, was taken into custody after the incident, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a news conference. The 26-year-old man is from Bronx and had two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015. Rojas is a U.S. citizen who previously served in the Navy, authorities said.
Mayor de Blasio stated that there is no indication that the crash was related to terrorism, but the White House and FBI were made aware of the incident.
Among the injured was 13-year-old girl. Her 18-year-old sister was killed in the crash. Officials said four of the 22 injuries were considered critical, but luckily all were expected to survive. Three other people were in serious condition.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene as the car sped the wrong way down three blocks, mowing down pedestrians.
“He was driving very fast,” said Karma Namgyal, a street vendor. “He was going the wrong way up the street and drove onto the sidewalk. He started hitting people. They were flying in the air. He plowed through them. The people he hit were face down. Everyone else started screaming. It was all fast. ”
Multiple witnesses say after the driver crashed, he attempted to escape. However, he was pinned to the ground by five bystanders who held him at the scene until police arrived.
“It sounded like a bomb going off,” said Dave Willis, a tourist from the U.K. “I ran over and it was over in seconds. He was tackled to the ground.”
The first emergency call was received around 12:00 p.m. EST. A maroon 2009 Honda could be seen in multiple photos upended on steel barriers and a lamppost at the corner of 45th Street and Broadway.
“We saw people laying on the sidewalk . . . with crowds of people lying around them,” one witness said. “You could see clumps of people down the sidewalk with people all around them trying to help them.”