Speeding auto hits pedestrians in Times Square

Police inspect the car

Image Police inspect the car

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday afternoon that a fatal incident in Times Square, in which a vehicle killed at least one person and injured almost two dozen others, did not appear to be related to terrorism, writes Politico.

Police records show that Rojas, who had served in the United States navy, had been arrested twice for drunken driving in 2008 and 2015, and once earlier this month on a charge of menacing. He ran through the street before he was tackled, The AP reported.

Rojas's lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment.

According to witnesses, Rojast mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before his auto hit a pole and came to rest on a street in Midtown Manhattan, Reuters reports.

The suspect reportedly told the authorities that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP before the rampage.

Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.

The suspect, Richard Rojas, 26, is said to have performed a u-turn and driven at speed against the flow of traffic toward one of the world's most popular tourist spots.

He is due to reappear in court next week.

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Police said the young woman killed on the sidewalk was Alyssa Elsman, 18, who was on vacation with her family from MI. The driver of the vehicle, identified by police as Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, was screaming and flailing as he got out of the auto after hitting multiple people, Bradix said.

Ken Bradix, a longtime Planet Hollywood employee, leaves work in NY, near the site of a deadly auto crash in Times Square.

The Navy vet was arrested just last week and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

He also had two previous drunken driving cases.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

Alan Ceballos, an attorney who represented Rojas in that case, said the state charges were dropped after the military stepped in to take jurisdiction over the criminal case.

Navy records show that in 2013 he spent two months at a naval prison in Charleston, South Carolina, but do not indicate why.

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