The auto came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.
Neighborhood acquaintances in the Bronx said Rojas was a friendly man who had been having problems.
Brooklyn resident Asa (AY-suh) Lowe was standing outside the Levi's store enjoying the weather when he heard screaming around midday Thursday. "He didn't stop. He just kept going".
Police said Rojas had been driving south on Seventh Avenue when he made a quick U-turn at 42nd Street and drove up the sidewalk for three blocks, passing tourist draws like the Hard Rock Cafe and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant.
"Anything happens here, there's no time for people to get out".
Lowe says the driver then got out of his vehicle and started running until people tackled him.
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The White House says that President Donald Trump has been "made aware" that a vehicle plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square and that he will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds. "I don't think there was actually time for screaming".
As Rojas ran from his wrecked vehicle, Ken Bradix, a door host supervisor at Planet Hollywood, struck him to get him to stop, Balde said.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before NY authorities confirmed the death. He was in custody, and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney yet who could comment on his behalf.
The sidewalks in many parts of Times Square and surrounding blocks are lined with metal posts created to prevent cars from getting onto the sidewalks and other public areas.
Kelly Graves said she feared the worst, maybe a bomb, as "chaos" erupted and people began running. There are many areas where vehicles could be driven onto packed sidewalks or public plazas.