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Suspect in deadly Times Square crash faces murder, attempted murder charges

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — The driver suspected of plowing into a crowd in New York’s Times Square midday Thursday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 others, is facing charges of murder, attempted murder and aggravated vehicular homicide.

The suspect, 26-year-old Richard Rojas of the Bronx, is expected to be arraigned Friday as nine people remain hospitalized from the crash.

At 11:55 a.m. Thursday, Rojas, a Navy veteran, was driving south on 7th Avenue when he made a quick U-turn at 42nd Street and drove on the sidewalk for three-and-a-half blocks, striking multiple pedestrians until crashing at 45th Street, according to law enforcement.

There is no indication of terrorism, officials said.

After Rojas crashed, he fled the scene but was detained by police and civilians, police said.

The car struck 23 pedestrians, killing Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan, law enforcement sources and city officials said. Her 13-year-old sister was among the injured.

Witness Annie Donahey told ABC News, “I was walking toward the subway station and the sidewalk that I was on was super crowded. Last minute I decided I was gonna cross the street … I turn around because someone screamed. There’s this red car, full speed, careening down the sidewalk.”

Donahey said one woman she was walking next to was struck by the car. “I looked back and she was in a pile on the street,” Donahey said. “It could’ve been me.”

She continued: “I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t crossed the street. It happened too fast.”

Rojas is expected to be charged with one count of murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Rojas has had multiple arrests, including two for drunken driving, police said.

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