Terrorism ruled out after car rams pedestrians in Times Square

One person killed and 22 injured after 26-year-old former serviceman with drink-driving record drove on to the pavement.

Investigators examine a car that ploughed through crowds of pedestrians before stopping on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York’s Times Square on May 18, 2017. Seth Wenig / AP Photo
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New York // A car ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians in New York’s Times Square on Thursday, leaving a young woman dead and injuring at least 22 other people in what officials said was an accident.

The incident sparked jitters after recent deadly car-ramming attacks in London, Berlin and the French city of Nice, but officials said early evidence did not point to a terror link.

“Based on the information that we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” mayor Bill de Blasio said.

City authorities were nevertheless deploying extra police from anti-terror units to key locations around the US financial and cultural capital, home to 8.5 million, out of “an abundance of caution”, the mayor said.

The driver of the car was arrested and identified as Richard Rojas, 26, from the Bronx. “He’s a United States citizen and a former member of the armed forces with the United States Navy,” Mr de Blasio said.

Mr Rojas, who had been stopped on two previous occasions for drink driving, drove into pedestrians on the pavenment at 11.55am, smashing into people for three blocks. The vehicle came to a stop at 45th Street and Broadway.

Famous across the world for its bright lights and advertising billboards, Times Square is typically packed with tourists and office workers.

* Agence France-Presse