Horrifying car rampage in New York


Portage Central Principal Eric Alburtus tells the Detroit Free Press that Elsman was a "kind, compassionate student known around the school for selling delicious muffins she baked in a cooking class".

"He's been going through a real tough time", he said.

Annie Donahey, 24, had just left work on Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets when the auto, a maroon Honda, sped past her and slammed into pedestrians on the sidewalk.

The speeding auto is believed to have mounted the footpath and barrelled into pedestrians for three blocks before crashing with two of its wheels in the air. The auto leaned on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

Harlem resident Tyezhane, 20, who would only give her first name, said she was walking to work at a shoe store when she saw the vehicle on the sidewalk. He says he and a group of about 5 other people chased the driver after he jumped out of the auto.

One picture showed what appeared to be the dead woman in the middle of a pedestrianised area with a broken off wing mirror lying next to her.

More than 80 people died when a large truck plowed through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, France previous year. Following tests police has said they think the suspect may have been high on drugs, notably synthetic marijuana.

Police say a 26-year-old man was in custody and was suspected of driving while intoxicated. He was arrested in 2008 and 2015 for DWIs. Police said he pointed a kitchen knife at a notary who'd come over to do paperwork, and he accused the notary of stealing his identity. The case is pending.

A source for the New York Police Department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters Rojas was believed to have been under the influence of some intoxicating substance at the time of Thursday's incident, but preliminary test results for alcohol came back negative. Crime scene tape blocked the entrance of the home as detectives searched it. Rojas is a US citizen and served in the Navy from 2011 to 2014, most recently at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida.

Rojas was arrested in Jacksonville in 2012 at Naval Station Mayport. Details of the circumstances were not immediately available.

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18-year-old Alyssa Elsman from Portage, Michigan was reportedly visiting the city with her family when tragedy hit, according to the NY Post.

The Navy veteran suspected of driving his vehicle into pedestrians in NY reportedly told police he had been hearing voices at the time.

"There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism", Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Sources also said police are trying to determine whether Rojas suffers from psychological problems, based on statements made at the time of his arrest.

But according to the original September 23, 2012, arrest report, Rojas was arrested on Wonderwood Drive after a short chase, telling the officer "I beat the s - - out of that cab driver and I'll tell you why, he said I owed him $162".

"We're doing OK, and I'm thankful that it didn't turn out much worse", Patrick Graves said. Victims had no time to react and scramble for safety in crowded Times Square, said Alpha Balde, a sightseeing-ticket seller. "This place?" Balde said.

Photographers snapped pictures of Rojas after he climbed from the wrecked vehicle and ran through the street before he was tackled by a group that included a ticket seller and a muscular door supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant.

A Planet Hollywood door supervisor tackled the driver who plowed into pedestrians in Times Square Thursday and helped hold him, he told ABC News.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before NY authorities confirmed the death.

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.