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FDNY: One Dead, 19 Injured after Car Drives into Times Square Crowd; Driver in Custody

NY 1 - May 19, 2017

by NY 1

One person is dead and at least 22 others injured after a car was driven the wrong way through Times Square early Thursday afternoon.

The New York City Police Department says the driver of the red Honda, 26-year-old Richard Rojas of the Bronx, is in custody.

Police say it all began around 11:55 a.m. when the car started moving at a high rate of speed and mounted the sidewalk along Seventh Avenue from 42nd to 45th Street, striking pedestrians along the heavily congested stretch.

The car finally came to rest after slamming into a barrier on West 45th Street.

Police say the crash is believed to be an isolated incident and does not appear to be terrorism.

An 18-year-old woman who died because of the crash was from Michigan, sources told NY1.

Four patients are listed in critical condition.

Police say the 18-year-old's sister, who is 13, was one of the other people injured in the crash.

Police say Rojas has two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated.

Sources told NY1 that preliminary field tests and statements Rojas made show that he was not intoxicated from alcohol, but instead from something he "smoked."

Sources also told NY1 that Rojas spoke about hearing voices Thursday, and during a previous arrest.

Rojas told two law enforcement officials that expected to die, according to the Associated Press.

"We all feel deeply right now for those who were injured and for their families," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at the scene.

Out of precaution, police say additional officers are being deployed to various sites across the city.

Police say Rojas was arrested last week after he pointed a knife at a notary and accused the notary of stealing his identity, according to the AP.

One official said Rojas told authorities when arrested previously that he believed he was being followed.