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One Dead, Several People Hurt After Speeding Car Drives Into Crowd In New York City

  • RFE/RL

One person has died and several others were injured after a speeding car plowed into a crowd of people on Times Square in New York City, authorities said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that one person died and 23 others were injured in the May 18 incident, which occurred at one of New York’s main tourist areas.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that one person died and 23 others were injured in the May 18 incident, which occurred at one of New York’s main tourist areas. The victim was reportedly a young woman.

U.S. officials, including de Blasio, said preliminary information indicates that the incident was not terrorism-related and that the driver, who was taken into custody, was being tested for alcohol in his system.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill named the suspect as Richard Rojas, 26, from the city's Bronx borough.

De Blasio said the suspect was in the U.S. Navy, and has a criminal record.

Law-enforcement officials said the suspect has a history of driving while intoxicated.

Reuters TV and CNN showed videos of injured and bloodied victims on the street of the square in downtown Manhattan.

"Preliminarily, it looks more like a vehicle accident than anything else," a New York police spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Video images showed the car, a red Honda sedan, lodged against a street pole, partially on its side.

The New York City police department said the crash is "believed to be an isolated incident," but that investigations were ongoing, with the FBI working with police officers and a bomb squad in the probe.

The White House said President Donald Trump has been "made aware" of the incident, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the scene, his office said.

The sidewalks in many parts of Times Square and the surroundings are lined with metal posts designed to prevent cars from getting onto the pavements.

However, there are many areas where vehicles could be driven onto sidewalks or public plazas.

Times Square also has a heavy police presence at all hours of the day and night.

In May 2010, an attempted terrorist attack occurred in Times Square, where a bomb was discovered in a vehicle. The bomb had been ignited, but failed to explode and was disarmed.

A Pakistan-born U.S. citizen, Faisal Shahzad, admitted attempting the car bombing and said that he had trained at a Pakistani terrorist training camp, according to U.S. officials.

He was later sentenced to life in prison.

With reporting by CNN, Reuters, NBC, and AP
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