WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Richard Rojas, 26, has been named as the man behind the wheel of the maroon sedan and had two prior arrests for drink driving
Horrifying footage has captured the moment a US Navy veteran drove his car into huge crowds of people in New York’s Times Square.
Ex-Navy officer Richard Rojas, 26, can be seen driving into pedestrians with the car lifting off the ground on impact.
People can be heard screaming in terror as the car hits people in the famous square.
The vehicle eventually crashed into a pole or bollard. Witnesses say the alleged driver tried to flee the scene before he was caught by members of the public.
The devastating incident left one 18-year-old dead and 22 people injured.
Pictures from the scene show Rojas – wearing jeans and brown t shirt – running across a pedestrian crossing screaming.
One person in a red shirt is on the ground near the vehicle while a terrified woman walks with a little girl just metres from the driver.
A witness stopped the driver from fleeing and with help from another bystander pinned him down and held him for police, a journalist at the scene said.
Rojas was later seen with his shirt torn after being grabbed by police – with his head pressed against a pole as cuffs were put on him.
Local media said Rojas has two prior arrests for driving while intoxicated, law enforcement officials said.
He also was arrested last year for menacing.
Rojas admitted smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel, law enforcement sources told
Authorities have insisted there is no evidence of terrorism.
The suspect being led by police into the back of a vehicle as witnesses claimed he was the driver.
The driver appeared to be drunk or on drugs, the New York Times reported quoting a law enforcement official.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department said that the incident was not thought to be terror-related at this time.
“We don’t have details as of yet,” the spokesman said.
“It looks more like an out of control vehicle – a vehicle that lost control than anything else at this point.”
Asked if it was terror-related he said: “This is very preliminary. We don’t have any details yet but on the information that we’ve got so far it looks more like an out of control vehicle at this time.”
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them tourists from around the world, pass daily through the bustling commercial area, the heart of the Broadway theatre district.
Annie Donahey tweeted: “A car just purposely sped onto the sidewalk in Times Square trying to hit people.
Kelly Graves said she heard the crash and saw people running.
“We saw people laying on the sidewalk,” she said.
“There were groups of people surrounding the injured trying to help them.”
President Donald Trump “has been made aware of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates”, his spokesman Sean Spicer said.
Times Square was in lockdown with traffic blocked off at least one block surrounding it.
Horror footage shows moment US Navy veteran drives car into pedestrians in Times Square leaving one dead and 22 injured