Damsel, Legal, mowed down in Times Square posted movie of the tourist attraction minutes before she was killed as ex-military man who was high on synthetic marijuana ripped through crowds injuring twenty two others
By James Wilkinson and Emily Crane For Dailymail.com and Gareth Davies For Mailonline 17:13 BST eighteen May 2017, updated Nineteen:54 BST nineteen May two thousand seventeen
- Some twenty three people were struck when the car drove the wrong way up Seventh Avenue in Manhattan’s Midtown
- An 18-year-old Michigan chick, identified as Alyssa Elsman, who was out for a walk with her sister, 13, was killed
- Richard Rojas, 26, drove for three and a half blocks before crashing on a stanchion, police said
- His criminal record includes two DWIs already – reportedly one eyed him driving at 99mph in a 50mph zone
- Sources say the ex-military man had been smoking synthetic marijuana, which causes psychotic scenes
- Rojas reportedly also got into a fistfight with cops as they attempted to arrest him, but he was apprehended
- He told cops ‘You were supposed to shoot me! I desired to kill them!’ as they arrested him, sources said
- Pals said he was a good mood Tuesday; he’d just got his car back after it was reposessed for lack of payments
- Two ticket sellers and a Planet Hollywood bouncer intercepted him and held him while police arrived
- On average, 330,000 people pass through Times Square every day. The area is still closed off by police
A teenager posted a movie of Times Square just minutes before she was mowed down at the tourist attraction by an ex-military man who was high on synthetic marijuana.
The NYPD has confirmed that an 18-year-old doll identified as Alyssa Elsman was the only fatality in the horrific Times Square collision that eyed twenty two people injured including the damsel’s 13-year-old sister.
The victim from Portage, Michigan, was walking through the heart of Midtown Manhattan with her sister when the incident occurred.
Moments before, she had uploaded a clip to social media showcasing the bustling Fresh York attraction.
A driver believed to be Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, mounted the curb and ploughed through crowds at high speed for three and a half blocks before crashing.
According to sources, he told cops that he wished to kill his victims, and that police should have shot him.
Rojas, a US military veteran who has a criminal history including two DUIs, had reportedly been smoking K2, the infamous synthetic marijuana, prior to the crash. It has been linked to psychotic scenes.
Of the twenty two people hurt, the NYPD said that four people had been critically injured with open fractures and numerous traumas and three others were earnestly injured – all were hospitalized. Some fifteen more were not earnestly injured, and were not hospitalized.
The status of Elsman’s 13-year-old sister has not yet been released.
Elsman had posted a brief movie of Times Square to her Instagram account just before she died. She was in the city with her mother, sister and a friend at the time, the Fresh York Post reported.
Her bf of six months, Trevor West, told the paper: ‘She would always text me back as quick as she could and when I didn’t hear from her or her friend I knew something horrible happened. I knew something was wrong.’
‘She motivated me, loved me, gave me everything I needed that I couldn’t give myself,’ he said. ‘And now that she’s gone I don’t know how I’m going to pack that void. I don’t know how I’m going to function without her ever again.’
In a joint press conference, with Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that the car had been driving down 7th Avenue when it made a U-turn onto the west sidewalk.
The car then drove up the sidewalk for three and a half blocks, striking the twenty three victims before crashing into a stanchion near the corner of 45th Street and Broadway, Nigro said.
Rojas has now been taken to a testing facility where he will be screened for drug use. Sources told ABC seven that he had been using synthetic marijuana, which has been linked to psychotic scenes, prior to the crash.
He was seen leaping up and down in the middle of the road after smashing his car into a series of stanchions – which occurred after he drove at speeds of up to 80mph, according to witneses.
And when he was being arrested, Rojas reportedly told police he’d desired to kill his victims, and that he’d expected to be gunned down.
‘You were supposed to shoot me! I dreamed to kill them!’ said, according to a Fresh York Post source.
NBC reported that after he was arrested, Rojas admitted to cops that he had been smoking marijuana prior to the crash. That has not yet been confirmed by authorities. It was also reported that he blew a 0.0 on an alcohol test.
Nigro said that the driver attempted to flee the car after the crash, but was tackled by a traffic agent, along with officers members of the public.
One of those members of the public was Alpha Balde, 57, a ticket agent for CitySightseeing. He said that he and a Planet Hollywood bouncer had spotted Rojas fleeing the scene of the crash and ran to intercept him.
‘The bouncer from Planet Hollywood knocked him out,’ he told the NY Daily News. ‘He knocked him out so bad you could see the blood coming out of his face.
‘That’s when I hopped in, I grabbed him from his neck and within about one minute everybody’s there.’
Balde added that he ripped off the suspect’s T-shirt. ‘We observe TV all the time,’ he said. ‘You have to make sure this fellow doesn’t have anything under his T-shirt that’s going to harm you.
‘So I ripped the T-shirt to find out no gun, no knife, no belt.’
‘He’s just mowing down people,’ said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming. ‘He didn’t stop. He just kept going.’
After the car struck a barricade and stopped, the driver climbed out of his vehicle, Lowe said. ‘He just commenced running until people tackled him down. Citizens just reacted.’
It was also reported that the suspect got into a fistfight with one of the officers as they attempted to arrest him. That officer was not badly hurt.
Rojas has a criminal history and two DWIs to his name, Nigro said. In two thousand eight he was arrested for drunk-driving in Queens, and in two thousand fifteen he was arrested again for drink-driving in Manhattan.
In May of this year Rojas was arrested for ‘menacing’, he said. No other details about his history with the police, or that incident, were made available.
In one of those two incidents he drove at 99mph in a 50mph zone, ABC reported. He has also had his license suspended numerous times.
Rojas was also a member of the US armed coerces, albeit details about that have yet to emerge.
Rojas had seemed blessed and untroubled on Tuesday night, a friend told the Fresh York Post. He had been celebrating getting his car back.
‘He just got his car back, a Honda,’ Jose Medrano, 27,’ said. ‘He was glad about it. He said they had taken his car for lack of payment. He just gotten it back and was glad.’
‘He was drinking last night out here, with his friends,’ Medrano added. ‘He looked in good spirits.’
A photograph taken by one witness displayed the maroon sedan involved in the collition, wreathed in smoke, propped up on the stanchions it had crashed into.
Witnesses said the motorist had driven up Seventh Avenue in the wrong direction, very first against traffic and then mounting the sidewalk, hitting pedestrians.
Police are reviewing footage of the incident.
A nine hundred eleven call obtained by NBC exposes the drama of the situation as the accident occurred.
‘Times Square, we got a car running people over on 42-7, going northbound on 7th ave, running people over,’ one NYPD dispatcher can be heard telling. ‘Numerous people injured. Notify everyone.’
Fresh York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio both visited Times Square to assess the scene.
Cuomo released a statement in which he said: ‘Today’s events at times square were nothing brief of horrific.’
He added: ‘As the facts proceed to emerge, my heart goes out to the victims of this terrible tragedy, as well as their families.’
Traffic all around Times Square is snarled up after the incident. Police are continuing to increase the size of the closed area to keep crowds away from the scene.
According to the NYPD, as of Three:30pm, roads are closed inbetween forty two St and forty nine St, from Sixth Ave to Eighth Ave, with no crosstown traffic and no southbound traffic from Seventh Ave and Broadway from forty eight St.
Access to the FDR is closed southbound on forty two St and northbound on twenty three St.
Times Square metro station’s exits are closed at 42, forty three and forty six Streets.
The area, which is strenuously trafficked by tourists and is eleven blocks away from the strongly guarded Trump Tower, already had a high police presence.
Times Square is one of the busiest areas for pedestrians in the entire country. On average 330,000 people walk through it every day – with as many as 460,000 on strenuous days.