Early Thursday, news broke of a car crashing into a group of pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City’s bustling Times Square, causing multiple injuries and claiming at least one life.
Now, reports have surfaced with details about the man behind the wheel: Richard Rojas.
Rojas, 26, is the Bronx man who carried out the deadly crash, which authorities do not believe was an act of terrorism, but the result of Rojas possibly being under the influence of a synthetic strand of marijuana known as K2, Heavy reports.
This is the man Richard Rojas arrested driving a car through Times Square pic.twitter.com/pDTSEKiepI— ?Kevin Booker ? (@KevinBooker206) May 18, 2017
In one of those intoxicated driving cases, Rojas was driving faster than 99 mph in a 50 mph zone.
This is also not Rojas’ first brush with violence; Heavy reportedly obtained a 2012 police report from Florida that indicates the suspect was once arrested for assaulting a cab driver and threatening to kill “all police.” The case was ultimately dropped, but the incident is very telling of Rojas’ history of erratic behavior.
The Florida situation also led to his dishonorable discharge from the Navy.
One of Rojas’ arrests occurred in May 2015 when he was detained for menacing. Rojas works as an official notary, but when a client arrived at his home to get an annuity notarized, Rojas lashed out and accused the person of stealing his ID. He then put a knife to the guy’s throat.
He was charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon but pleaded guilty to harassment.
The one fatality from Thursday's crash is 18-year-old Michigan tourist Alyssa Elsman, who was visiting the city with her family. Her 13-year-old sister is among the nearly two dozen people who were injured.
This is Alyssa Elsman, was visiting NYC and was killed by Richard Rojas who slammed into her. pic.twitter.com/QtFbCnnYCl— ?Kevin Booker ? (@KevinBooker206) May 18, 2017
A nearby Planet Hollywood bouncer helped restrain Rojas after he tried to flee the scene.
“The driver tried to run from the scene and the bouncer from Planet Hollywood hit him, so we jumped on top of him and ripped his shirt, wanted to make sure he had no gun or knife on him,” a tour bus ticket agent who witnessed the incident told CBS.
Times Square was immediately placed on lockdown following the horrific scene.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters