Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Man who hit pedestrians in NYC was 'hearing voices' say officials

The pedestrian who was killed, an 18-year-old woman, was a tourist from MI, authorities said. Police said Rojas attempted to flee but was he detained by officers and civilians who apprehended the driver.

At 11:55 a.m. Thursday, 26-year-old Richard Rojas, a Navy veteran, was driving south on 7th Avenue when he slowed down, allowed traffic to pass, made a U-turn at 42nd Street, accelerated and started to strike down pedestrians, police said.

Two law enforcement officials say Rojas told police he was hearing voices and expected to die. Police do not suspect a link to terrorism and the driv.

Witness, Juan Soto, told Sky News: "I came upon the scene - a gruesome scene with multiple victims on the sidewalk and the street". "No one even saw it coming".

Twenty three people were struck by the vehicle before it was stopped by a security barrier.

She posted an image from the same location just over a year earlier.

The speeding vehicle jumped the sidewalk on the west side of 7th Avenue at 42nd Street and struck several pedestrians before crashing at the northwest corner of 45th Street, police said.

Rojas had dilated pupils - common after a brain injury or drug or alcohol use - and was raving as detectives questioned him in connection with the fatal crash, said a law enforcement source. He turned around and saw the auto hitting people on the sidewalk.

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A United States military veteran with a criminal past ploughed a vehicle into a crowd of people in New York's Times Square, killing one woman and injuring 22 other people. His vehicle was stopped by a metal stanchion at West 45th Street.

Authorities and witnesses said Rojas drove his auto the wrong way up a Times Square street and plowed into pedestrians on the sidewalk. Elsman's 13-year-old sister was also hit.

The driver "accelerated across at an angle, went up on the curb and hit that whole group of people waiting", witness Julie Fallo, 47, of New Jersey, told NBC News. Five people who were hurt declined medical attention at the scene.

"My understanding is that no Australians were involved, but of course our consular staff are keeping a very close watch on that", Ms Bishop, in NY for meetings at the United Nations and to lobby for Australia gaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, told reporters.

Within moments of the incident, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio rushed to the scene. "It really isn't", he said of the Times Square crowd. President Donald Trump, whose home at Trump Tower is one mile from the crash scene, was made aware of the incident nearly immediately and given updates, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted. An 18-year-old tourist visiting from MI died in the crash.

"I saw a vehicle driving down 7th Avenue on the sidewalk, and it was smoking", Ken Bradix, who runs security at the Times Square Planet Hollywood, told WNYW.

Rojas was in the Navy, the military confirmed. Harrison Ramos, a close friend, said Rojas had been going through a rough time ever since he returned home from serving in the Navy.

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