Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Man charged with murder over Times Square crash

Man charged with murder over Times Square crash

Richard Rojas was identified by police as the driver of the speeding maroon Honda Accord that went up on the sidewalk of Times Square in New York City, according to The New York Post and ABC News.

Eighteen-year-old tourist Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Her name was Alyssa Elsman and she had been visiting from MI with her family. A woman, 18, was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene and her sister was also injured, according to the news outlet. He blew a 0.0 at the precinct Thursday afternoon, but law enforcement sources say certain statements and tests suggests he may have smoked something.

Officials said Rojas served in the US Navy but was discharged after disciplinary problems. Charges were dropped in the case.

Friends say Rojas told people he works in real estate, but it's unclear if he had any kind of realtors license, Carlin reported.

Rojas, a Navy veteran, was taken into custody after he tried to flee the scene, police said.

But childhood friend Harrison Ramos said he saw Rojas' troubled side.

A week ago he was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity. He said that out of an "abundance of caution", security across key locations around the city will be stepped up and major sites in the city will get additional police coverage from the anti-terror units.

Rojas' mother brought in for questioning Thursday; she said nothing to reporters as detectives led her to a waiting vehicle.

Donahey said one woman she was walking next to before she crossed the street was struck by the auto. Another neighbor said Rojas is a "good person" and he doesn't know what happened to him.

So far, investigators don't believe it was an act of terrorism. He allegedly punched a police officer as they took him into custody, sources said.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism. Sources say he blew a 0.0 when tested for alcohol at the precinct he was brought to for questioning.

Rojas has been arrested twice in New York - in 2015 and 2008 - for drunken driving, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said. He resisted officers while being arrested for DUI in Florida, resulting in the dishonorable Navy discharge, law enforcement sources said. And while he says those messages have since been deleted, they caused him to distance himself from Rojas.

An 18-year-old woman was killed and 22 other people were injured when a vehicle barreled through Times Square as crowds gathered around lunchtime Thursday to enjoy the summer-like day.

NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue said it was treating four patients in critical condition and two in serious condition Thursday night.

Police radio captured the urgency of the response.

Investigators look under a smashed auto that 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.

Like this: