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Man charged with murder after NY vehicle carnage

Man charged with murder after NY vehicle carnage

A Belfast native has spoken of her shock as an out-of-control vehicle driven by a suspected drunk driver ploughed into pedestrians in New York's Times Square.

After hitting the barricade, Rojas jumped out and began running, yelling and jumping before police and bystanders wrestled him to the ground.

A man steered his auto onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks, killing a teenager, then emerged from his wrecked vehicle wild-eyed and waving his arms before he was subdued by police and bystanders.

In the incident, a vehicle ploughed into a crowd at the Times Square around noon (local time), killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 others.

Richard Rojas, 26, was arrested after his maroon sedan jumped the curb and hit 23 individuals in Times Square, killing Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from MI.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them tourists from around the world, pass daily through Times Square, the heart of the Broadway theatre district.

Officials said Rojas told police he was "hearing voices" and investigators believe he may have been under the influence of drugs, with an alcohol test coming back negative.

Rojas was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in both 2008 and 2015, police Commissioner James O'Neill said, losing his license for 90 days.

One of the hospitals treating the injured said four patients were in critical condition Thursday night.

A Navy official says Richard Rojas had been discharged as the result of a special court martial. He enlisted in 2011, served as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice, and was most recently based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Details were not immediately available.

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The auto came to rest with its two right wheels in the air as Rojas got out of the vehicle and attempted to run away.

"He began screaming, no particular words but just utter screaming", said Ken Bradix, a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant who tackled Rojas.

NY mayor Bill de Blasio (left) said: "Based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism".

The area was packed with New Yorkers and tourists enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures at lunch hour.

Alyssa Elsman, from Portage, Michigan, died and 23 people were struck by the auto before it was stopped by a security barrier.

Portage Central Principal Eric Alburtus tells the Detroit Free Press that Elsman was a "kind, compassionate student known around the school for selling delicious muffins she baked in a cooking class".

Here's what you need to know. "She was bright. She was amusing".

Elsman, a native of Southwest Michigan, died at the scene. She also had a boyfriend.

Reuters news agency building foreman Rodney Muir said he heard what sounded like a big bang and crunching metal. One woman was bleeding from a head injury, she said.

"She was a very loving, loving little girl", the family member said of Elsman.


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