New York City: An 18- year old woman has lost her life and two dozen people have been wounded in Manhattan’s Times Square car accident. Police officials have said that the driver of the 2009 Honda Accord who ploughed his car through the crowded Times Square in Manhattan has been arrested.
Authorities have reportedly recognized the car driver as 26-year old Richard Rojas, of the Bronx. New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill told the media that the attacker has been apprehended and taken into police custody. Officials suggest that the driver has a history of drunk driving and was reportedly arrested in 2015 and 2008 — for drunken driving.
The car that the driver was driving is still there on the spot. The vehicle, a maroon Honda, ended up against a pole on the sidewalk. Photos showed pedestrians lying in the street, and one person covered with a white sheet on the sidewalk, New York Post reported. Witnesses claimed that the driver was heading against traffic before mounting the pavement. More information was awaited. Police sealed off the area and buildings were in lockdown. People were being forced away from the scene.
A Fox News report while affirming the report of the 26-year old Bronx man’s arrest said that the man has been into custody in what police are investigating as a possible substance abuse-related crash, not terrorism. New York’s mayor said that Rojas is a U.S. citizen and military veteran with a criminal history. The teenager who died was identified as Alyssa Elsman, a tourist visiting New York with her family.
The incident has shocked the people not just in New York but across the country and many people initially thought it to be a terrorism case on the lines of London West Minster incident a couple of months ago. But thankfully it was not to be. In the meantime TMZ has carried several photos that showed Rojas acting crazed in the middle of the street after the crash, which allegedly occurred after he sped the wrong way down a prominent thoroughfare.
Reports suggest that the man who looked dazed tried to run away after the incident. A CBS report while quoting an eyewitness said that that “the driver tried to run from the scene and the bouncer from Planet Hollywood hit him, so we jumped on top of him and ripped his shirt, wanted to make sure he had no gun or knife on him.” The ripped shirt might explain why he was later photographed wearing a red, not brown, shirt.
In the meantime New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio said “The perpetrator is in custody. He’s a United States citizen and former member of the armed forces with the United States Navy. He has a criminal history,” the mayor said. Mayor DeBlasio confirmed that authorities don’t suspect terrorism. “Based on the information we have right now, there’s no indication this is an act of terrorism,” The Mayor said.