One dead, 20 hurt as car hits pedestrians in New York’s Times Square

Driver appears to have been either drunk or on drugs, law enforcement official says

A speeding car crashed into pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City's busy Times Square on Thursday (May 18), causing multiple injuries, witnesses said.

 

One person was killed and at least 20 were injured when a car struck pedestrians in New York’s Times Square on Thursday about noon, according to the New York Fire Department.

The driver appeared to have been either drunk or on drugs, a law enforcement official said. He has a history of DWI [driving while impaired] arrests, the official added.

He has been named by police as Richard Rojas (26), of New York.

A red car positioned on its side after it reportedly struck pedestrians in Times Square in New York City, New York. Photograph: Gary He/EPA
A red car positioned on its side after it reportedly struck pedestrians in Times Square in New York City, New York. Photograph: Gary He/EPA

The condition of those injured was not yet known, a spokeswoman said.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) said it does not suspect a link to terrorism, tweeting: “One male in custody in the Times Square vehicle collision. It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation.”

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First responders at the scene as people help injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, US. Photograph: Jeremy Schultz/Reuters
First responders at the scene as people help injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, US. Photograph: Jeremy Schultz/Reuters

Car surrounded

A maroon Honda Accord sat tilted on a bollard in Times Square, its right wheels off the ground on the northwest corner of 45th Street and Broadway. Its front hood was crumpled and its trunk was open. Detectives and investigators had surrounded the car.

The New York City Fire Department had earlier confirmed one fatality and said 12 people were injured after the incident in the busy tourist hotspot.

Asked if it was terror-related he said: “This is very preliminary. We don’t have any details yet but on the information that we’ve got so far it looks more like an out of control vehicle at this time.”

First responders assist injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, US. Photograph: Jeremy Schultz/Reuters
First responders assist injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, US. Photograph: Jeremy Schultz/Reuters

The New York Police Department closed off the area.

A person was photographed lying on the ground covered with a bloodstained blanket.

A witness also saw seven people being loaded onto stretchers after the incident. One of those injured told Reuters that the driver’s actions appeared to be intentional.

New York Times/Reuters