Times Square crash kills 1, injures 22; Navy veteran arrested

By  | 

NEW YORK (AP) A Navy veteran with a criminal history was arrested after a car plowed into a crowd in Times Square at around 11 a.m. Thursday, killing a woman and injuring 22 other people.

Alyssa Elsman, 18, a tourist from Portage, Mich., died of her injuries.

Police say Elsman's 13-year-old sister was among the people who were struck, but survived.

Witnesses in Times Square watched in horror as the car plowed over the pedestrians.

Brooklyn resident Asa Lowe was standing outside the Levi's store enjoying the weather when he heard screaming around midday Thursday.

He turned around and saw the car hitting people on the sidewalk.

He says the driver was "just mowing down people. He didn't stop."

The car hit a barricade and stopped. Lowe says the driver then got out of his car and started running until people tackled him.

Lowe saw injured people, including a woman who "had tracks all over her body."

The incident doesn’t appear to be linked to terrorism, authorities said.

"The perpetrator is in custody, he's a United States citizen and former member of the armed forces with the United States Navy. He has a criminal history," New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio said.

"Based on the info we have right now, there's no indication this is an act of terrorism," he said.

The driver of the Honda sedan pulled onto a sidewalk and struck 23 pedestrians before the car came to a stop.

Witnesses reported that he drove the wrong way and on a sidewalk for at least three blocks.

The car came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers intended to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

The driver, whom police identified as Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bonx was arrested at the scene.

Rojas has history of arrests including two for driving while intoxicated, police said.