March 19, 2018

Vehicle slams into pedestrians in Times Square, killing 18-year-old woman

19 May 2017, 08:33 | Rodolfo Wallace

Teen from West Michigan killed in Times Square crash Alyssa Elsman from Facebook

Teen from West Michigan killed in Times Square crash	 	 	 			Alyssa Elsman from Facebook

Officials say 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman was visiting New York City from MI and was with her younger sister at the time of the tragic crash.

A smashed vehicle 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. Police said the driver of a Honda drove at a high rate of speed the wrong way up the sidewalk along Seventh Avenue, plowing into pedestrians before crashing and coming to a stop. An 18-year-old tourist from MI was killed. Twenty-two other people were injured in the incident.

Investigators look under a smashed vehicle 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. The NYPD released a statement, saying, "It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation".

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"Based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication this was an act of terror", de Blasio said.

The New York Police Department charged Richard Rojas, 26, with murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide on the evening of May 18, just hours after he plowed his auto onto the sidewalk of the busiest area of New York City, police confirmed to the New York Post. Sources said he punched a police officer as they took him into custody.

Rojas is a US citizen and former member of the armed services. Test are pending, but given his history, sources say DWI is investigators' leading theory for the cause of the crash. Police also charged Rojas with menacing in May of 2017. The 26-year-old tested negative for alcohol, however, it's reported that he told police he smoked K2, a synthetic marijuana, and heard voices in his head that told him he had to hurt people.

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