Nation

Car mows down Times Square pedestrians for blocks, killing 1

NEW YORK — A man who appeared to be intoxicated steered his car onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square on Thursday and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks, killing a teenager and injuring 22 others, before he was tackled by bystanders, authorities said.

Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barreled through the prime tourist location and eventually slammed into a security barrier, coming to rest with two of its wheels in the air. The car end up on a lamppost and steel barriers intended to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

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‘‘He didn’t stop,’’ said Asa Lowe of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming. ‘‘He just kept going.’’

The driver was tackled by pedestrians and taken into custody. He was being tested for drugs and alcohol and charges against him were pending.

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The crash happened at midday on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of people into the streets to enjoy the good weather. Video posted online showed steam or smoke pouring from the car for a few moments after it stopped moving.

The driver was identified as Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old Navy veteran. He was taken into custody , Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

Rojas had been arrested at least twice previously for driving while intoxicated, once in 2008 and once in 2015, police said. He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken driving program and lost his license for 90 days.

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He was arrested just last week on a charge of menacing. Police said he pointed a kitchen knife at a notary who’d come to his home to do paperwork, and he accused the notary of stealing his identity.

The crash killed an 18-year-old woman and the injured included her 13-year-old sister, police said.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism, but the vehicle was checked by the bomb squad and some landmarks were getting beefed-up security, ‘‘out of an abundance of caution,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Associated Press

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