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NY crash witnesses describe 'gruesome' scene in Times Square

NY crash witnesses describe 'gruesome' scene in Times Square

Mayor Bill de Blasio and top NYPD and FDNY brass gathered in Times Square this afternoon to reassure the public after a vehicle ran down nearly two dozen pedestrians and killed one in the famous "Crossroads of the World" earlier today-as all the authorities insisted there was as yet no proof the deadly and tragic incident was an act of terrorism.

The horrifying incident happened shortly before midday, local time. He said he saw them trying to help the 18-year-old woman who was killed, seeing looks of anguish on police officers there with her.

Rojas had dilated pupils - common after a brain injury or drug or alcohol use - and was raving as detectives questioned him in connection with the fatal crash, said a law enforcement source.

The arrest report said Rojas made threats to kill all police and military police he might see after he was released from jail.

NYPD officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed during a press briefing that, at present, there is no evidence that the crash was terror-related.

In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the day's events "nothing short of horrific".

"He didn't stop", said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he saw people scatter.

Rita Baidoo, a ticket agent for the Big Bus tour company, who spotted the vehicle zooming along West 45th Street, said, "He was speeding really fast and we knew he was out of control". The auto leaned on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

The driver, Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old Bronx man who had been discharged from the U.S. Navy following disciplinary problems, told police he was hearing voices and expected to die, two law enforcement officials said. Beside her was a NY state license plate and a side mirror that broke off from the vehicle, a police officer at the scene said.

Victims had no time to react and scramble for safety in crowded Times Square, said Alpha Balde, a sightseeing-ticket seller.

He says the driver was "just mowing down people".

"People were being hit and rolling off the auto", said Josh Duboff, who works at the nearby Thomson Reuters headquarters.

"If you didn't know her, you might think she's reserved or shy", school principal Eric Alburtus said.

"We feel deeply for those injured and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost".

Trump is holding a news conference at the White House later Thursday with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Television images taken at the scene showed people being taken away on stretchers.

The siblings who were visiting NYC from Portage, Michigan, were struck on the sidewalk between West 42nd and 43rd streets reported the nypost.