A frightening and fatal incident took place this afternoon in Times Square.
Right around noon, a car plowed into a crowd that had gathered in this iconic New York City location, killing one pedestrian and injuring at least 22 others.
Thanks to the Associated Press, we have a look at the vehicle in question shortly after tragedy transpired:
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill has identified the driver as Richard Rojas, a 26-year old who has two arrests for DUI on his record.
Rojas was driving a Honda sedan and he immediately jumped out of the car and started to run after he slammed it into a sidewalk.
He didn’t get very far, however, as police officers and even a few civilians chased Rojas down.
Law enforcement insiders tell TMZ that Rojas admitted to smoking marijuana Thursday morning before he got behind the wheel.
His previous driving-related arrests were in 2008 and one in 2013, while he was also arrested earlier this year for menacing.
Here’s a video of Rojas being taken into custody:
Officers, meanwhile, have announced that the woman who died was 18 years old, but they have not yet released her name to the public.
Based on preliminary information about the crash, “at this time it doesn’t appear to be terror-related,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
He added that Rojas is an ex-member of the Navy.
Multiple witnesses in the area talked to CNN about what they saw and/or experienced, with Elizabeth Long explaining that she was walking near Broadway and 43rd Street when she saw the car speeding toward her.
“Fortunately I was able to duck into a building as it sped by and crashed,” Long wrote on Instagram.
An emergency management official described the vehicle as “out of control” prior to the crash.
Police say the car struck 23 pedestrians and that 22 people of them were taken to nearby hospitals, including the 13-year-old sister of the deceased victim.
Officials added that four people are in critical condition, three others suffered serious injuries and the other 15 individuals have less serious injuries.
Rojas was driving south on 7th Avenue when he made a sudden U-turn onto a sidewalk at 42nd Street.
He then drove on the sidewalk for three-and-a-half blocks, hitting numerous pedestrians until crashing at 45th Street, according to law enforcement.
He allegedly punched an officer in the face while he was being detained.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was at the scene getting briefed by New York Police Department officers, said in a statement:
“Today’s events at Times Square were nothing short of horrific. I was briefed at the scene by Commissioner O’Neill and saw firsthand the professionalism and diligence of New York’s first responders.
“As facts continue to emerge, my heart goes out to the victims of this terrible tragedy, as well as their families.”