The NYPD has confirmed that an 18-year-old girl was the only fatality in the horrific Times Square collision that saw 22 people – including the woman’s 13-year-old sister – injured.
A driver believed to be Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, mounted the curb and ploughed through crowds at high speed for three and a half blocks before crashing.
Rojas, a US military veteran who has a criminal history including two DWIs, reportedly told police he had been smoking marijuana before the incident occurred.
Of the 22 people hurt, the NYPD said that four people had been critically injured with open fractures and multiple traumas and three others were seriously injured – all were hospitalized. Some 15 more were not seriously injured, and were not hospitalized.
The status of the 13-year-old girl has not yet been released.
|Photo credit: Facebook|
Richard Rojas (pictured left), 26, was identified by police as the driver behind the crash.
In a joint press conference, with Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that the car had been driving down 7th Avenue when it made a U-turn onto the west sidewalk.
The car then drove up the sidewalk for three and a half blocks, striking the 23 victims before crashing into a stanchion near the corner of 45th Street and Broadway, Nigro said.
Witnesses said that Rojas may have been driving at speeds of up to 80mph.
Nigro said that Rojas attempted to flee the car after the crash, but was tackled by a traffic agent. He added that other officers, and also members of the public, assisted in subduing Rojas.
Rojas has now been taken to a testing facility where he will be screened for drug use.
NBC reported that Rojas admitted to cops that he was smoking marijuana prior to the crash, but that has not been confirmed by the authorities. It was also reported that he blew a 0.0 on an alcohol test.
It was also reported that Rojas got into a fistfight with one of the officers as they attempted to arrest him. That officer was not badly hurt.
Rojas has a criminal history and two DWIs to his name, Nigro said. In 2008 he was arrested for drunk-driving in Queens, and in 2015 he was arrested again for drink-driving in Manhattan.
In May of this year Rojas was arrested for ‘menacing’, he said. No other details about his history with the police, or that incident, were made available.
In one of those two incidents he drove at 99mph in a 50mph zone, ABC reported. He has also had his license suspended multiple times.
Rojas was also a member of the US armed forces, although details about that have yet to emerge.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4519432/At-10-people-hit-car-Times-Square.html#ixzz4hSjNq4Od