NEW footage shows the moment a car driven by a crazed driver mows down pedestrians and flips mid air in the middle of Manhattan.
In one video, the vehicle can be seen approaching at high speed in the background as a young woman crosses the street. It hits a a pole and flies through the air before coming to rest on a 45 degree angle.
Another video shows the same vehicle mowing down a group of pedestrians who fall across the car’s bonnet and bounce off the windscreen.
The vehicle was driven by a New York man who ploughed into a Times Square crowd, killing a teen tourist and injuring 22 others. Police sources say he wanted to commit murder, and then wanted cops to kill him.
“You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them,” Richard Rojas, a Bronx resident and navy veteran, told police, after driving his car into pedestrians in the crowded tourist hotspot,
The New York Post
Rojas, a 26-year-old who has been twice arrested for driving under the influence, wasn’t drunk when he went on the rampage in the heart of the Big Apple, speeding the wrong way up a Times Square, a high-ranking police official said. Rojas, who was taken into custody at the scene, is being tested for drugs.
On Tuesday night, Rojas appeared to be in “good spirits” as he partied with friends and celebrated getting his car back, a friend said.
“He just got his car back, a Honda,” said Jose Medrano, 27. “He was happy about it. He said they had taken his car for lack of payment. He just gotten it back and was happy.”
“He was drinking last night out here, with his friends,” Medrano added. “He looked in good spirits.”
The next day, Rojas used the Honda to mow down nearly two dozen people on the footpath of Times Square, police allege.
Scenes of pandemonium erupted on a steaming hot Thursday afternoon as the car slammed into crowds, hit a pole, burst into flames and came to rest at a 45-degree angle on a bollard in the busy tourist spot about noon.
The New York Police Department is not treating the incident as terror-related, but instead suspect the male driver was intoxicated when the car sped up a Times Square street the wrong way.
The teenager pronounced dead at the scene was Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Michigan, who was reportedly out for a walk when she was struck. Her 13-year-old sister is among the injured.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in New York that no Australians had been hurt.
Police have taken Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old Bronx resident and navy veteran, into custody. He has two prior drink-driving records.
Witnesses told news.com.au of their horror as the maroon 2009 Honda Accord mowed down pedestrians.
“We heard the crash, we turned our backs and saw people fleeing from the scene, running,” witness Kelly Graves, of Wisconsin, told news.com.au, adding that there were people strewn across the sidewalk.
“There were groups of people that were surrounding the people injured trying to help them.
“We saw flames shooting out of the car.”
Witness Kelly Graves said she saw the car in flames in Times Square. pic.twitter.com/Q19oT0IwiF— James Law (@JournoLawJ) May 18, 2017
Brazilian student Bruno Carvalho, 27, said he saw blood on the sidewalk after the horror crash.
“The car passed in front of me ... five seconds later, the car would have hit us,” he told news.com.au.
“At least five people got really, really injured.
“It’s just insane. I feel like five seconds later it would be me and my father (killed).”
Another witness from the Times Square crash. @newscomauHQ pic.twitter.com/TpLR2ofA8T— James Law (@JournoLawJ) May 18, 2017
Bus tour salesman Alpha Balde said he saved a tourist who the car had backed into.
“The car hit the guy from the back … The car hit the barricade and the power of the barricade backed the car up,” he told news.com.au at the scene.
The force pushed the man down face first onto the sidewalk, knocking him unconscious.
“I had to move him from the fire. The car caught fire straight away,” Mr Balde said.
“I rushed in.”
Police said Mr Rojas made a quick U-turn onto 42nd Street and then drove up the sidewalk for three blocks, passing tourist hot spots such as the Hard Rock Cafe and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant and mowing people down before slamming into a pole.
He was combative with officers who handcuffed him, authorities said.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them visitors from around the world, pass daily through the bustling commercial area, the heart of the Broadway theatre district.
Footage from the scene shows people lying crumpled on the pavement with one covered by a bloodstained blanket. Parts of the car as well as shoes and clothing were strewn across the road.
The area is now under a police cordon after the vehicle came to rest on its side with smoke pouring from it. Police pushed pedestrians back from the scene as a precaution as the vehicle was inspected for explosives.
I'm live in Times Square where a car has driven into pedestrians. @newscomauHQ pic.twitter.com/1GPlIK8hND— James Law (@JournoLawJ) May 18, 2017
“People were being hit and rolling off the car,” eyewitness Josh Duboff said.
Cheryl Howard and her daughter said they were “so freaked out” after seeing the car “mow everyone down”.
Driver plows into pedestrians in #timessquare thank God for #NYC finest #FDNY pic.twitter.com/ZXPdXj8UMR— Marc Palladino (@marc_palladino) May 18, 2017
‘I DON’T KNOW HOW I’M GOING TO FUNCTION WITHOUT HER’
devastated boyfriend of Alyssa Elsman, teenager killed in the Times Square crash, says he “knew something horrible happened”
when he didn’t receive a text reply from her on Thursday.
Miss Elsman posted a video to Instagram of her on the famous red staircase in Times Square about an hour before the crash.
“She would always text me back as quick as she could and when I didn’t hear from her or her friend I knew something horrible happened,” her boyfriend Trevor West told the
New York Post
“I knew something was wrong.”
Mr West said Ms Elsman was “everything to him”.
“She motivated me, loved me, gave me everything I needed that I couldn’t give myself. And now that she’s gone I don’t know how I’m going to fill that void,” he said.
“I don’t know how I’m going to function without her ever again.”
The incident comes after a series of terror attacks which have seen cars used as weapons in London, Berlin and Nice, however the New York Police Department believes this case was not terror related.
“It is believed to be an isolated incident; it remains under investigation,” the New York Police Department said.
“The 22 people injured have been brought to area hospitals. NYPD detectives from multiple units are investigating the incident.”
Television footage showed police officers restraining a man in a dark T-shirt and placing him in a police car.
Witnesses said the motorist had driven against traffic and onto the sidewalk, striking pedestrians.
“Everybody was just running, everyone was concerned for their lives,” a witness told local CBS television.
“He’s just mowing down people,” said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming.
“He didn’t stop. He just kept going.”
At the scene seven people were placed on stretchers while shoes were scattered on the pavement.
President Donald Trump “has been made aware of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates”, his spokesman Sean Spicer said.
.@POTUS has been made aware of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) May 18, 2017
— with wires...Read more