News

Times Square horror: The man who mowed down pedestrians

NEW footage shows the moment a car driven by a crazed driver mows down pedestrians and flips mid air in the middle of Manhattan.

In one video, the vehicle can be seen approaching at high speed in the background as a young woman crosses the street. It hits a a pole and flies through the air before coming to rest on a 45 degree angle.

 

Richard Rojas, the driver who mowed down pedestrians in Times Square, pictured immediately after the incident.
Richard Rojas, the driver who mowed down pedestrians in Times Square, pictured immediately after the incident. Charles Guerin/Bestimage/DiimexSource:Diimex

The vehicle was driven by a New York man who ploughed into a Times Square crowd, killing a teen tourist and injuring 22 others. Police sources say he wanted to commit murder, and then wanted cops to kill him.

"You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them," Richard Rojas, a Bronx resident and navy veteran, told police, after driving his car into pedestrians in the crowded tourist hotspot, The New York Post reports.

Rojas, a 26-year-old who has been twice arrested for driving under the influence, wasn't drunk when he went on the rampage in the heart of the Big Apple, speeding the wrong way up a Times Square, a high-ranking police official said. Rojas, who was taken into custody at the scene, is being tested for drugs.

 

The driver, Richard Rojas, pictured immediately after the incident at the scene.
The driver, Richard Rojas, pictured immediately after the incident at the scene. Picture: Charles Guerin/Bestimage/DiimexSource:Diimex

 

On Tuesday night, Rojas appeared to be in "good spirits" as he partied with friends and celebrated getting his car back, a friend said.

"He just got his car back, a Honda," said Jose Medrano, 27. "He was happy about it. He said they had taken his car for lack of payment. He just gotten it back and was happy."

"He was drinking last night out here, with his friends," Medrano added. "He looked in good spirits."

 

A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Police do not suspect a link to terrorism and the driver was taken into custody to be tested for alcohol. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Police do not suspect a link to terrorism and the driver was taken into custody to be tested for alcohol. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

 

The next day, Rojas used the Honda to mow down nearly two dozen people on the footpath of Times Square, police allege.

Scenes of pandemonium erupted on a steaming hot Thursday afternoon as the car slammed into crowds, hit a pole, burst into flames and came to rest at a 45-degree angle on a bollard in the busy tourist spot about noon.

The New York Police Department is not treating the incident as terror-related, but instead suspect the male driver was intoxicated when the car sped up a Times Square street the wrong way.

 

 

The teenager pronounced dead at the scene was Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Michigan, who was reportedly out for a walk when she was struck. Her 13-year-old sister is among the injured.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in New York that no Australians had been hurt.

Police have taken Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old Bronx resident and navy veteran, into custody. He has two prior drink-driving records.

Witnesses told news.com.au of their horror as the maroon 2009 Honda Accord mowed down pedestrians.

"We heard the crash, we turned our backs and saw people fleeing from the scene, running," witness Kelly Graves, of Wisconsin, told news.com.au, adding that there were people strewn across the sidewalk.

"There were groups of people that were surrounding the people injured trying to help them.
"We saw flames shooting out of the car."

 

 

Brazilian student Bruno Carvalho, 27, said he saw blood on the sidewalk after the horror crash.

"The car passed in front of me ... five seconds later, the car would have hit us," he told news.com.au.

"At least five people got really, really injured.

"It's just insane. I feel like five seconds later it would be me and my father (killed)."

Bus tour salesman Alpha Balde said he saved a tourist who the car had backed into.

"The car hit the guy from the back … The car hit the barricade and the power of the barricade backed the car up," he told news.com.au at the scene.

 

Investigators works at the scene of a car crash in New York's Times Square. A man who appeared intoxicated drove his car the wrong way up the Times Square street and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk injuring dozens authorities and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Investigators works at the scene of a car crash in New York's Times Square. A man who appeared intoxicated drove his car the wrong way up the Times Square street and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk injuring dozens authorities and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The force pushed the man down face first onto the sidewalk, knocking him unconscious.

"I had to move him from the fire. The car caught fire straight away," Mr Balde said.

"I rushed in."

Police said Mr Rojas made a quick U-turn onto 42nd Street and then drove up the sidewalk for three blocks, passing tourist hot spots such as the Hard Rock Cafe and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant and mowing people down before slamming into a pole.

He was combative with officers who handcuffed him, authorities said.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them visitors from around the world, pass daily through the bustling commercial area, the heart of the Broadway theatre district.

 

 

Footage from the scene shows people lying crumpled on the pavement with one covered by a bloodstained blanket. Parts of the car as well as shoes and clothing were strewn across the road.

The area is now under a police cordon after the vehicle came to rest on its side with smoke pouring from it.

Police pushed pedestrians back from the scene as a precaution as the vehicle was inspected for explosives.
Man arrested after New York crash

"People were being hit and rolling off the car," eyewitness Josh Duboff said.

Cheryl Howard and her daughter said they were "so freaked out" after seeing the car "mow everyone down".

 

'I DON'T KNOW HOW I'M GOING TO FUNCTION WITHOUT HER'

The devastated boyfriend of Alyssa Elsman, teenager killed in the Times Square crash, says he "knew something horrible happened" when he didn't receive a text reply from her on Thursday.

 

Times Square victim Alyssa Elsman, 18. Picture: Facebook/Alyssa Elsman
Times Square victim Alyssa Elsman, 18. Picture: Facebook/Alyssa Elsman

 

Miss Elsman posted a video to Instagram of her on the famous red staircase in Times Square about an hour before the crash.

"She would always text me back as quick as she could and when I didn't hear from her or her friend I knew something horrible happened," her boyfriend Trevor West told the New York Post.

"I knew something was wrong."

Mr West said Ms Elsman was "everything to him".

"She motivated me, loved me, gave me everything I needed that I couldn't give myself. And now that she's gone I don't know how I'm going to fill that void," he said.

"I don't know how I'm going to function without her ever again."

 


Witnesses told news.com.au of their horror at pulling people from under the vehicle as it burst into flames after speeding through the crowd.

"We heard the crash, we turned our backs and saw people fleeing from the scene, running," witness Kelly Graves told news.com.au, adding that there were people strewn across the sidewalk.

"There were groups of people that were surrounding the people injured trying to help them.

"We saw flames shooting out of the car."

Mrs Graves was visiting Times Square from Wisconsin with her husband.

"The car passed in front of me ... five seconds later, the car would have hit us," he told news.com.au

 

A police officer inspects a car crash, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in New York's Times Square.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A police officer inspects a car crash, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

 

'ISOLATED INCIDENT'

The incident comes after a series of terror attacks which have seen cars used as weapons in London, Melbourne, Berlin and Nice, however the New York Police Department believes this case was not terror related.

"It is believed to be an isolated incident; it remains under investigation," the New York Police Department said.

"All information is preliminary: At 1155hrs a 2009 Honda Accord mounted the sidewalk at W. 42St & 7th Avenue striking people.

"The 22 people injured have been brought to area hospitals. NYPD detectives from multiple units are investigating the incident."

Television footage showed police officers restraining a man in a dark T-shirt and placing him in a police car.

 

Witnesses said the motorist had driven against traffic and onto the sidewalk, striking pedestrians.

"Everybody was just running, everyone was concerned for their lives," a witness told local CBS television.

"He's just mowing down people," said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming.

"He didn't stop. He just kept going."

At the scene seven people were placed on stretchers while shoes were scattered on the pavement.

President Donald Trump "has been made aware of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates", his spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Topics:  editors picks new york times square

News Corp Australia

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Why Toowoomba should take in more migrants

Toowoomba and south-west Queensland needs to take on more migrants

What happened to Jason Vance?

Rockhampton man Jason John Vance went missing in the Barakula Forest in 2013.

Inquest to investigate missing Rockhampton man

Truck in flames at Dalby home

FIRE: Fire fighters were quick to put out the flame that had engulfed a truck in Winton St East.

Truck on fire in middle of the night

Local Partners

Fault sparks fire at Dalby biofuels refinery plant

A MECHANICAL fault is believed to have sparked a fire at the Dalby biofuels refinery early this morning, triggering a staff evacuation.

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

JUST WHEN you thought you’d all of Bella Hadid’s supermodel figure — she gets her Cannes out on the red carpet of an AIDS gala dinner in France.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!