Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Terrorism ruled out after auto rams pedestrians in Times Square

The man who drove a auto into a crowd in Times Square on Thursday was in custody, in which one was killed and 22 others injured, New York's mayor said.

The commissioner said there is no indication that the incident was related to terrorism.

The mayor said that authorities were none the less "reinforcing key locations around the city" out of what he called "an abundance of caution".

"This is a tough day for New York City, but I want to thank our first responders who got here so quickly", Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter.

"Preliminary investigation reveals that Rojas has two arrests ... for DWI", O'Neill said.

The apartment building where Rojas lives was cordoned off by police Thursday.

A number of people were treated for their injuries at the scene.

A witness told Reuters that one person was covered in a bloodstained blanket after the collision.

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The driver, whom the NYPD identified as 26-year-old Richard Rojas, was arrested. Four people were critically injured but are expected to survive, officials said.

The vehicle came to a rest at 45th Street and Broadway.

The speeding auto 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. "He went into the sidewalk and a lot of people were hit down after that". Dosokey said police and ambulances arrived about two minutes later.

Rojas was previously arrested for drunken driving in 2015 and 2008, police said. Flames were seen coming from Rojas's vehicle and were extinguished by firefighters.

Rojas, a Bronx resident and veteran, has previous arrests for driving while under the influence.

Rojas attended college and works in real estate, Ramos said.

Alyssa Elsman died Thursday when a man drove his auto down the sidewalk for three blocks into the heart of New York City's theater district. The crash happened near 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, at the heart of Times Square near Broadway just before noon on Thursday.

Pedestrians had little time to react as the auto went the wrong way up the pavement before smashing into a row of steel security barriers installed in recent years to prevent vehicle attacks on the square. 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.

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