NEW YORK CITY, NY — A man has been arrested after purposively plowing his car through Times Square pedestrians around noon today, injuring 22 people and killing a young woman.
The suspect, 26-year-old Richard Rojas of the Bronx, had been arrested for drunk driving twice before. This time he tested positive for being under the influence of PCP, authorities said.
Behind the wheel of his 2009 Honda Accord, Rojas purposively careened onto the sidewalk and began mowing down pedestrians for several hundred feet over the course of three blocks, leaving a blood trail, until he eventually crashed into barriers.
Once crashed, Rojas stormed out of his car but was soon apprehended by good Samaritans until authorities arrived. In custody, police stated that Rojas told them he was hearing voices and hallucinating. He also urged officers to kill him.
Of the injured, hospital staff said four were in critical condition and two in serious condition.
Tragically, 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman died instantly in the carnage. A tourist from Portage, Michigan, she was sightseeing alongside her 13-year-old sister when disaster struck.
Elsman worked as a roller-skating waitress at a Sonic Drive-in and was a recent graduate of Portage Central High School.
In an interview with the New York Post, a witness described the catastrophe's aftermath. Referring to the tragic scene, he said, "Her forehead was busted. Blood everywhere. She was gone. A police officer took his handkerchief and put it over her face. He was crying."
Initial media reports of a terrorist attack at Times Square were quickly debunked by top NYC leaders based on preliminary information. Nonetheless, a young lady's life is still lost by no accident and her boyfriend will never be able to see her smile again.