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Driver charged with murder in Times Square crash

A man using a history of drunken driving has been charged with murder after authorities say he barreled a car during the busy sidewalks in the Time Square in Manhattan .

Times Square
Times Square

The deadly rampage on Thursday began after the motorist allegedly formed a U turn, then steered the car into the packed sidewalk where it rammed dozens of pedestrians for a three block stretch.
One surveillance video showed the maroon car jump the curb and slam into a group of individuals, sending bodies tumbling over the hood of the speeding Honda Accord.
Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year old resident of Portage, Michigan, who was seeing the city, was killed.
Richard Rojas, the suspect, of the Bronx, told authorities that God made him do it and tested positive for PCP, a law enforcement source told CNN.
Rojas, 26, who suffered from “emotional issues,” told authorities he expected officers to shoot him, according to the source.
In addition to the murder charge, Rojas also faces 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, based on a statement from the New York Police Department. The five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide are for the departure of Elsman and four sufferers that are in critical state.
They can be expected to endure, officials said.
NYC Health Hospitals Bellevue said it was treating two in serious condition and four patients in critical condition Thursday night.
The injured included Elsman’s 13-year-old sister, Ava, according to Michelle Karpinski of Portage Public Schools.
“She’ll be greatly missed by the staff and students here.”
Rojas has been arrested twice in New York — in 2008 and 2015 — for drunken driving, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
There’s absolutely no indicator that the incident in Times Square, which unfolded just before noon, was an act of terrorism, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials said.
The sidewalk jumped at 42nd Street on the west side of 7th Ave and struck several pedestrians before crashing at the northwest corner of 45th Street, police said.
Witnesses described a harrowing scene that began with screeching tires and ended with mayhem, screams along with a fiery crash at one of the world’s most visited sites.


Worrying that she would be hit by the car and hearing screams, she ran to a closeby building’s revolving door.
When Long went outside, she saw at least six people lying on the earth, including a girl lying face-down with blood.
“I am shaken,” said Long, who was not injured. “Two of the people I saw that were actually damage, folks were beside them … we were trying to tell (police) they were damage.”
“I felt so terrible … standing there,” not being able to do anything more to help, she said.
A tourist from Argentina told CNN affiliate WABC which he was shocked to view the auto that “was like bowling, hitting people.”
Witness: Motorist was crying and flailing his arms
When she heard the screeching tires of the vehicle and people shouting, Annette Proehl of Pennsylvania was in Times Square with kids on a field trip. She watched the car shot into a steel divider and catch fire, she said.
“It was more of a surreal matter,” she said. “We initially thought they were filming something.”
The auto was lodged on a steel bollard — of which there are more than 200 on Times Square pavements to stop vehicles from coming through.
The car’s windshield was shattered and flames billowed from the hood.
That is when Planet Hollywood employee Kenya Brandix seen the motorist fleeing from the car.

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