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Times Square crash suspect court-martialed


Rojas was charged with one count of murder in the second-degree, aggravated vehicular homicide and multiple counts of attempted murder, a NY police spokesman said in an email late on Thursday.

Police say a 26-year-old U.S. Navy veteran with two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated has been taken in custody after his vehicle plowed into 23 pedestrians in Times Square, killing one of them.

An 18-year-old woman was killed and 22 other victims were injured, including the woman's 13-year-old sister, officials said.

It was not immediately clear when Rojas would get a lawyer or be arraigned.

Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.

"This was an incredibly scary moment, happening right in the heart of Times Square where hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists were mixing with the local workers during lunch time", he said.

When the police arrived on the scene, Richard reportedly attempted to flee.

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Witnesses said the motorist mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before the auto hit a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.

"You stole my identity", Rojas told the man, grabbing his neck in one hand while brandishing the knife in the other, according to a police spokeswoman.

In one of his two previous DWI arrests, Rojas was driving faster than 99 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone, sources familiar with his record say. Rojas was charged at the time with misdemeanor battery and resisting an officer without violence, but it was unclear how the case was resolved.He spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but the Navy records did not say why.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Two law enforcement officials say Rojas told police he was hearing voices and expected to die.

The cab driver said he followed Rojas into the barracks on the naval base and was attacked, according to the police report. They said he has a history of possible psychiatric, drug and alcohol problems, and investigators are looking into whether or not Thursday's crash may have been a deliberate act.

Elizabeth Long, of Dayton, Ohio, was walking to the Hard Rock Cafe when she saw a maroon vehicle heading toward her on the sidewalk.

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New York Police say they don't suspect a link to terrorism, but a bomb squad was called as a precaution to check the wreckage. Rojas was also said to be having alcoholism issues.

A friend of the victim, Olivia Lemke, said the Elsman family went on a family trip once a year to NY.

Social media images show injured people on the street, a auto upended at an angle and crowds gathered in the heart of the tourist hub.

Rojas, 26, was taken into custody after barreling into the lunch-hour crowd on Seventh Avenue shortly before noon, according to police.

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

Rojas' burgundy Honda Accord sedan was smoking when it came to a stop at West 45th Street and Broadway, where it remained at least until 6 pm.

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