By Daniel Trotta and Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy veteran plowed his car into pedestrians in New York City’s packed Times Square on Thursday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 people. The city’s mayor said there was no indication it was an act of terrorism.
(For a graphic on the map of the driver’s course, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2rvktPe )
Witnesses said the motorist mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before the car struck a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.
Police who arrested the driver identified him as Richard Rojas, 26, from the New York City borough of the Bronx.
Rojas was charged with one count of murder in the second-degree, aggravated vehicular homicide and multiple counts of attempted murder, a New York police spokesman said in an email late on Thursday. It was unclear if Rojas has an attorney.
He was expected to appear in court on Friday at an arraignment hearing.
Rojas had previously been arrested twice for drunken driving, in 2008 and 2015, and once this month on a charge of menacing for threatening another man with a knife, police said.
A source for the New York Police Department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters Rojas was believed to have been under the influence of some intoxicating substance at the time of Thursday’s incident, but preliminary test results for alcohol came back negative.
ABC News cited unidentified police sources as saying Rojas had apparently been high on synthetic marijuana.
Rojas was taken to Bellevue Hospital rather than to the city’s central booking facility after being detained at a police precinct on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, according to the police source who spoke to Reuters.
There was no indication the incident was an act of terrorism, Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference at the scene.
Initial reports brought to mind vehicle attacks on pedestrians in recent…