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Driver crashes car into pedestrians in New York City's Times Square

May 18,2017 19:16

Jeremy Berke/Business Insider. A witness told Business Insider that she heard the driver scream before the crash. The New York Times is reporting the driver appeared to be intoxicated. Elena Kovachenko, a 16-year-old high school student from Queens ...and more »


A vehicle that struck pedestrians and later crashed is seen on the sidewalk in Times Square in New York City, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A driver crashed his car into pedestrians on the sidewalk in New York City's Times Square just before noon on Thursday.
The New York Police Department said that the man, Richard Rojas, 26, "lost control" of the 2009 Honda Accord, and confirmed that he was in custody.
Police said one person, a 26-year-old woman, was killed in the incident. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 22 others were injured.
An investigation is underway, the NYPD said, though it is "believed to be an isolated incident." De Blasio said there is no indication the incident was terror related. Terrorists have used vehicles to crash into crowds in London, England and Nice, France in the past year.
The scene after the crash in Times Square on May 18, 2017. Jeremy Berke/Business Insider
A witness told Business Insider that she heard the driver scream before the crash. The New York Times is reporting the driver appeared to be intoxicated.
Elena Kovachenko, a 16-year-old high school student from Queens, told Business Insider that she heard "bodies fall on the ground" when the car plowed through.
"It was horrible, and you could just see, he didn't stop. Once he kept hitting from that side, he just kept going down and down and down" along the sidewalk, she said.
"It was as if his car was like a bowling ball, and people were just the pins, because so many people kept falling and falling. It didn't seem like it was going to stop."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on the scene being briefed. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump was made aware of the incident and "will continue to receive updates."
The smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street. AP Photo/Seth Wenig
West 42 Street to West 49th Street is closed in both directions from Sixth to Eighth Avenues, according to Notify NYC. The 23rd and 42nd Street exits on the FDR Drive are also closed.
It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday and Times Square was full of people.
"I didn't know what to do. I was in shock. I just stood there," Kovachenko said. "I was just so thankful I wasn't on the other side. I just can't imagine what those people are going through right now."
De Blasio offered his condolences to the victims and their families.
"This is a tough day for New York City, but I want to thank our first responders who got here so quickly," he said. "We feel deeply for those injured and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost. Our prayers are with all of them."
News of the incident quickly spread on social media:
This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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