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© Jewel Samad, AFP | Police secure an area near a car after it ploughed into pedestrians in Times Square in New York on May 18, 2017

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-05-19

A man sped his car the wrong way up a street in New York’s Times Square midday Thursday, ploughing into crowds of pedestrians, killing one and injuring at least 23 others.

The police said the incident did not appear to be an act of terrorism, but the bomb squad responded as a precaution to check the vehicle and a large area in the Manhattan tourist centre was cordoned off by officers.

The 26-year-old driver of the vehicle was taken into custody (picture below) after the car crashed into a pole, and he is being tested for alcohol, law enforcement officials said. The official added that he has a history of driving while intoxicated.

The man in custody is Richard Rojas from the city's Bronx district. Rojas was formerly in the military and a US citizen, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio told a press conference.

The maroon-coloured Honda sedan that struck the victims only stopped when it crashed into the lamppost and safety barriers intended to stop vehicles. The car dangled at a precarious angle with two of its wheels in the air.

Television footage showed police officers restraining a man -- thought to be the driver -- in a dark T-shirt before finally getting him into a police car.

Trump made aware

The White House said President Donald Trump has been "made aware" of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the scene of the crash, and police and city officials also visited the scene.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them tourists from all over the world, visit the bustling iconic square which is in the heart of the Broadway theatre district.

Cheryl Howard and her daughter were enjoying a day out shopping when the car sped down the pavement. "I'm so freaked out!" the daughter said. "They mowed everyone down."

The crash happened at midday on a sunny day that brought out the crowds looking to enjoy the good weather.

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


Date created : 2017-05-18