At least one person was killed and 22 others wounded after a car drove through a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square just before noon Thursday.
The driver, 26-year-old Richard Rojas from the Bronx, is in custody and has two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated, officials said.
Officials said Rojas made a U-turn onto a sidewalk in Times Square. Rojas traveled on the sidewalk for three blocks, striking an 18-year-old woman who died of her injuries.
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the crash was not an act of terror.
“Based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication this was an act of terror,” de Blasio said.
Rojas had been arrested in 2008 in Queens and 2015 in Manhattan for drunk driving, officials said at the press conference.
Rojas is a U.S. citizen and former member of the armed services. He was being transported to a facility to be tested for drugs and alcohol.
President Trump has been briefed on the situation, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.
The car, a red Honda, struck the victims at 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan, the FDNY said. Rojas was seen being hauled into a police car.
The area was packed with New Yorkers and tourists enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures at lunch hour. The car was propped up on security barriers that protect pedestrian plazas in Times Square, which is open to limited vehicle traffic.
“The car just came and hit the pole out of nowhere,” a witness told CBS New York. “Everybody was just running, everybody was concerned for their lives.”
Police closed off the area and buildings were on lock down.
An 18-year-old girl (pictured) was run down and killed, and her 13-year-old sister injured, in Times Square on Thursday when a driver mounted the sidewalk and struck them and 21 other people across three-and-a-half blocks
The speeding vehicle struck 23 pedestrians. Four people were critically injured and three seriously hurt. All were hospitalised. The remaining 15 people were not taken to hospital. The condition of the dead girl’s sister is unknown
Richard Rohas (pictured left), 26, of the Bronx, was identified by police as the driver behind the crash. He’s a former member of the military with two DWIs under his name. He reportedly told cops he’d been smoking weed prior to the crash
Rohas – seen left jumping in the street after the crash for reasons as yet unknown, and right after being arrested – was said to be ‘visually impaired’ when he was caught by cops. Police are testing him for drugs and alcohol
The body of the dead girl was left underneath a bloodstained sheet while police investigated the scene of the tragic incident