Bronx resident, Richard Rojas has been arrested for Times Square car accident that killed an 18-year old tourist and injured more than 20 people. He reportedly plowed his car into crowded Manhattan area taking the crowd by surprise.
Even before people and police could stop the 26-year old man who looked rather dazed, he had already injured close to two dozen people and left a young, petite girl dead on the pavement.
Reports suggest that he tried to flee the Time Square on foot, but people in the vicinity overpowered him and handed him over to the police.
In the meantime law enforcement agencies quoted him saying that he “heard voices”. The man who is a US navy veteran was earlier thought to be drunk. But breathe-analyzer tests showed that he was not really drunk, though drug tests were yet to be conducted.
According to Reuters, he said after being arrested: “You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them.” Rojas has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated vehicular homicide and multiple counts of attempted murder. He is expected to appear in court later on Friday. The streets in Times Square, a bustling tourist district, were thronged with visitors when the car ploughed through the crowds.
Richard Rojas who was driving a burgundy Honda sedan reportedly drove on the wrong side. Eye-witness accounts suggest that the driver jumped the kerb at 45th Street and Broadway at 11:55 local time (15:55 GMT) and drove at high speed for three blocks before crashing into a pole.
One of his friends, Harrison Ramos, who lives in the same building as the driver said that the drinking problem in Rojas began with his navy stint. “He went through a real tough time. Don’t make him out to be a terrorist or something. He served his country and when he came back, nobody helped him…That’s my friend. I care about him, and it hurts”, Said Ramos. On the other hand investigators haven’t been able to find a reason behind his crazy action. One investigator told the New York Times Mr Rojas had so far offered no coherent explanation, and was “just rambling and saying crazy stuff”.
Meanwhile officials have released more details about Rojas. He is a Navy veteran who comes from the Bronx, has two prior arrests for DUI, one in Queens in 2008 and one in Minnesota in 2015. In one of the DUI cases, he was driving faster than 99 mph in a 50 mph zone. Reports suggest that he was discharged from Navy for resisting police during a DUI arrest in Florida. He was most recently arrested in May 2015 on a charge of menacing; officials said he pulled a knife on an acquaintance.