Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Speeding Vehicle Strikes Pedestrians in New York City's Times Square

One person was killed and at least 12 others injured Thursday when a vehicle struck pedestrians in Manhattan's bustling Times Square, police and fire officials said. Video taken by a witness and posted to Instagram shortly after the crash showed police taking a person into custody.

Witnesses said the motorist mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before the vehicle hit a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.

NYPD say terrorism was not the motive, however, they suspect it may be a DUI.

The officials said Rojas told officers he had been hearing voices.

Initial reports of the incident brought to mind vehicle attacks on pedestrians like those seen in recent months in Britain, France, Germany, Israel and Sweden. "He has a criminal history", New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio said. Rojas had been arrested at least twice previously for driving while intoxicated, once in 2008 and once in 2015, police said. Four people were critically injured but are expected to survive, officials said.

The driver was "just mowing down people". Police and fire officials closed off an area of several blocks.

President Donald Trump has been made aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation, press secretary Sean Spicer said.

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Bicycle courier Julio Sanchez Rivera, 20, told USA TODAY he was making his first delivery of the day when he heard a auto engine revving.

The city's fire department said there were 13 casualties.

"He's been going through a real tough time", he said.

"I was on 45th Street in my vehicle when I heard the sound of a auto and commotion - everyone was running".

"I've seen some insane stuff, but this is pretty nuts", he said.

"I'm shaken", said Long, who wasn't injured.

Thoughts and prayers to loved ones and neighbors in the theatre district in light of this morning's auto crash.

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This incident occurred during lunch time, meaning Times Square was even more packed with pedestrians than usual.

- 26-year-old man detained and arrested. A block from the scene people were talking about the crash, trying to piece together what happened.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement the event was "nothing short of horrific".

Before striking pedestrians, the auto was "out of control", an emergency management official said.

"I was in shock, I was screaming, Kristen Boyce told NBC News".

"I didn't know what to do".

The crash drew quick reactions of compassion on Twitter. Security camera footage showed the auto slam into pedestrians who moments earlier were ambling along, some carrying shopping bags and others pushing baby strollers.

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