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18-Year-Old Dead, More Than 20 Injured After Car Rams Pedestrians In Times Square

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A car careened into pedestrians in Times Square on Thursday afternoon, killing one woman and injuring over 20 people on the sidewalks in the crowded tourist destination, officials said.

Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Portage, Michigan, was visiting New York City with her family when 26-year-old Richard Rojas allegedly crashed into the crowd, according to The New York Post.

Twenty-two people were injured in the incident, the FDNY said on Twitter, after the driver drove at a high rate of speed through the crowd before coming to a halt  at a metal pole.

Read: 13 People Dead and 31 Injured in One of California's Deadliest Highway Crashes

A police source told InsideEdition.com that the NYPD requested the bomb squad to sweep under the car as a precaution.

The driver appeared to have been either drunk or on drugs and has a history of DWI arrests, a law enforcement official told The New York Times.

Police named the suspect as Richard Rojas, a former member of armed forces with US Navy who has two DWI prior arrests.

He was taken into custody at the scene, officials said. 

Photos and web cam footage from the scene showed a maroon Honda sedan crashed onto a sidewalk, balancing on just two wheels on the northwest corner of 45th Street and Broadway. 

The vehicle appeared to catch fire following the crash.

"There no indication that this was an act of terrorism," Mayor Bill De Blasio said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was also at the scene.

"Today’s events at Times Square were nothing short of horrific. I was briefed at the scene by Commissioner O'Neill and saw firsthand the professionalism and diligence of New York’s first responders. As facts continue to emerge, my heart goes out to the victims of this terrible tragedy, as well as their families," Cuomo said.

Watch: Motorcyclist Miraculously Survives After Truck Explodes In Crash

Often called The Crossroads of the World, Times Square is one of the most popular tourist spots on earth with hundreds of thousands of visitors each day.

Four were critically injured Thursday after suffering open fractures and multiple other traumas. Officials said they are very hopeful for the survival of these victims.

Three other victims suffered serious injuries and 15 people had less serious injuries, according to authorities.

Watch: Does Eerie Photo From Scene of Deadly Crash Show Stairway to Heaven?

 

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