At least one dead as driver hits crowd in Times Square

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The death of 18-year-old tourist Alyssa Elsman, who authorities say was hit by a vehicle in Times Square on Thursday along with almost two dozen other pedestrians, has stunned her family.

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.

According to witnesses, Rojast mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before his auto hit a pole and came to rest on a street in Midtown Manhattan, Reuters reports.

A auto plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square Thursday afternoon, killing one person and injuring about 20 others.

Emergency workers help an injured woman after multiple pedestrians were struck by a vehicle in Times Square in New York, New York, USA, 18 May 2017.

Rojas was reportedly a Navy veteran with a history of driving under influence (DUIs) arrests.

It is believed Rojas wanted to pull a "suicide by cop" because police say he told them, "You were supposed to shoot me!"

To read this article in one of Houston's most-spoken languages, click on the button below. It wasn't clear when he would get a lawyer or face formal charges in court.

A fire department chief, Mark Foris, was at an unrelated elevator rescue when he saw the auto speed by.

"He just started running until people tackled him down", Lowe said.

"You are going to have to be strong now", de Blasio was heard telling family members.

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A 26-year-old man is in custody after the rampage. Some from the alt-right seem to be convinced the multiple-victim auto crash was terror-related, despite numerous reports claiming there are no signs of a terror plot.

Friends of a man suspected of plowing his auto into pedestrians in Times Square say he'd been going through a rough time.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism.

Rojas, who lived in the Bronx, said he was hearing voices and had expected to die, according to law enforcement officials quoted by the Associated Press.

A smashed vehicle sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

The auto hit a barricade and stopped. Police said the driver was high on drugs - possibly synthetic marijuana (K2) when he made the turn up Seventh Avenue from 42nd Street and drove three blocks before striking a metal pole.

The horrifying incident happened shortly before midday, local time.

Rojas was arrested in 2008 and 2015 for driving while intoxicated, police said. "I don't think there was actually time for screaming".

Witnesses spoke of fear and panic as the vehicle hurtled through the crowd at the start of the lunch hour as people enjoyed one of the first warm days of summer in an area typically packed with tourists and office workers.

The sidewalks around Times Square have been secured with more than 200 steel bollards meant to prevent accidental or criminal vehicle intrusions, said Rob Reiter, chief security consultant for CalPipe Security Bollards.

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