A Belfast native has spoken of her shock as an out-of-control vehicle driven by a suspected drunk driver ploughed into pedestrians in New York's Times Square.
"I was not afraid the whole time because I was doing my job", he said.
Investigators look under a smashed auto that sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
"A woman in front on the sidewalk was hit and tossed before then vehicle reached 44th st, continued plowing people down at full speed up to 45th street, where it was stopped after crashing into more people and the light post pictured", posted Instagram user Ed G Val, who "saw the auto speeding north on the west sidewalk of southbound 7th Ave." from across the street.
An image posted to Twitter by Josh Silverman shows the scene of a motor vehicle accident in the Times Square neighborhood of New York, May 18, 2017.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig). A smashed auto sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
A man with a history of drunken driving, has been charged with murder after police say he barreled a vehicle through the crowded sidewalks in Manhattan's Time Square, leaving one person dead and injuring 22. There is no indication it was an act of terrorism, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders said.
Was the driver known to police?
Alyssa Elsman, from Portage, Michigan, died and 23 people were struck by the auto before it was stopped by a security barrier. Her 13-year-old sister was among the injured.
Aubry says three others remain in critical condition with head injuries, while a fourth person was being treated for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis.
The driver, Richard Rojas, a Bronx native, was taken into custody and being tested for alcohol. Witnesses reported that he drove the wrong way and on a sidewalk for at least three blocks, mowing down pedestrians. "Two of the people I saw that were really hurt, people were beside them. we were trying to tell (police) they were hurt". Last minute I decided I was gonna cross the street ... I turn around because someone screamed. She and her daughter were shopping when the vehicle sped toward them. She watched the auto slam into a steel divider and catch fire, she said.
After the auto crashed to a halt, Long said, at least six people were scattered on the street. She bolted across the street. "It happened too fast".
He had returned from his Navy service with a drinking problem, said a friend, Harrison Ramos, speaking outside the apartment building where Rojas lives in New York City's Bronx borough.
"That stretch between 42nd and 43rd Street is always the most crowded".
"Managers conducted a headcount and thankfully none of my colleagues was injured", she said.
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. Investigators are reviewing Rojas' criminal history and are in the process of interviewing him. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Blood tests are underway to check for the presence of synthetic marijuana or PCP, among other substances, sources said.
"You were supposed to shoot me!"
Law enforcement sources said charges are pending.
Before striking pedestrians, the 2009 Honda Accord was "out of control", an emergency management official said.
Rojas is to be arraigned Friday. At first, I thought someone was intentionally doing it. "As facts continue to emerge, my heart goes out to the victims of this bad tragedy, as well as their families".