1 dead, 19 injured after auto crashes into Times Square crowd

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Pic: ReutersNEW YORK: A speeding auto crashed into pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City's busy Times Square on Thursday, causing multiple injuries, witnesses said.

An NYPD spokesman said the driver is a 26-year-old man with a history of driving while intoxicated, who has been arrested and is being tested for alcohol.

NYPD stated that Richard Rojas, the suspect and Bronx resident, had been arrested back in 2008 as well as 2015 for driving drunk. The driver was taken into custody and being tested for alcohol. The incident that occurred around noon today left one woman dead and 22 others injured, who were rushed to local area hospitals.

Times Square had previously been the target in attempted attacks, such as in May of 2010 when a Pakistani man placed an alleged auto bomb in an intersection. The deceased was identified as an 18-year-old female.

Planet Hollywood says Bradix "selflessly and heroically took action, helping to stop the fleeing suspect".

The auto came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

There was no immediate word from New York City police on the number of people who were hurt.

In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the law enforcement officials said.

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Witnesses said the motorist had driven against traffic and onto the sidewalk, striking pedestrians.

"If you didn't know her, you might think she's reserved or shy", school principal Eric Alburtus said.

The mayor said Rojas was a former member of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Kenya Bradix, 47, a supervisor at Planet Hollywood, said he was walking back to the restaurant on 45th Street, when he heard screams and saw Rojas' vehicle driving along the sidewalk on the west side of 7th Avenue, heading against traffic.

The maroon sedan vehicle, travelling at high speed, crashed into the group of people and ended up flipping onto its side on the sidewalk, before ambulances and police descended on the area, an AFP photographer said.

"People just got stunned", said Bruno Carvalho, a student at SUNY Albany. He was in custody, and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney yet who could comment on his behalf.

"We were just touring, seeing how handsome Times Square was", Prasad said.

Sunita Prasad and her family, visiting from Guyana, were marveling at the sights when the vehicle came toward them.

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