Tuesday 12 December 2017

Teenage girl (18) dies after man with 'drink-driving history' rammed into pedestrians in Times Square

  • One person (18) confirmed dead
  • At least 23 others injured - four critical, three serious
  • Police say incident not believed to be terror related
  • Driver taken into custody
  • Had previous arrests for drink-driving
  • New York mayor says it is a 'tough day' for NYC
A vehicle that struck pedestrians and later crashed is seen on the footpath in Times Square, New York City Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar
A vehicle that struck pedestrians and later crashed is seen on the footpath in Times Square, New York City Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar
A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
An injured man sits on the footpath in Times Square REUTERS/Mike Segar
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An 18-year-old teenager has died and a number of others are injured after a speeding car struck pedestrians in New York's Times Square.

The young woman is believed to have been visiting New York with her family when the speeding car drove into them and nearly two dozen others.

New York City's fire department has reported that 23 people are injured - four critical and three serious. 

The driver has been named as US Navy veteran Richard Rojas (26) from New York.

He has two prior arrests for drink-driving, in 2008 and 2015.

Police say the incident is not believed to be terror related and the driver is being tested for alcohol consumption.

The NYPD tweeted: "One male in custody in the Times Square vehicle collision. It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation."

Most of the surrounding Manhattan area was closed down after the incident as emergency services tended to the victims.

A witness told Reuters news agency they have seen seven people being loaded onto stretchers, shoes scattered around the scene and one person covered in a bloodstained blanket.

Other witnesses said the vehicle drove against traffic and onto the footpath. 

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says President Donald Trump has been made aware of the incident and will continue to receive updates.

Television footage showed police restraining a man in a dark t-shirt and placing him in a police car.

A man, who police said was the suspected driver of a car which crashed into a crowd on Times Square, is led out of the NYPD Midtown South precinct in New York REUTERS/Rodrigo Campos
A man, who police said was the suspected driver of a car which crashed into a crowd on Times Square, is led out of the NYPD Midtown South precinct in New York REUTERS/Rodrigo Campos

"Everybody was just running, everyone was concerned for their lives,” a witness told local CBS television.

The car crashed into a pole at 45th Street and Broadway.

First responders are assisting injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jeremy Schultz
First responders are assisting injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jeremy Schultz

New York mayor Bill de Blasio speaking from the scene said: "Based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.

"This is a tough day for New York City, but I want to thank our first responders who got here so quickly.

"We feel deeply for those injured and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost. Our prayers are with all of them."

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has offered his condolences to the people of New York.

"My Department are monitoring the situation closely through Consulate General New York and the Consular Division in Dublin. Irish citizens with concerns can call +353 (1) 4082000 for assistance.

A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A smashed car sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

"On behalf of the Irish government, I wish to express our condolences and solidarity with the people of New York at this time."

Reuters

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