One dead, 12 injured after auto plows into pedestrians in Times Square

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said President Trump was made aware of the incident.

The sidewalks in many parts of Times Square and surrounding blocks are lined with metal posts created to prevent cars from getting onto the sidewalks and other public areas.

The smashed vehicle, lower right, sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street.

In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the police officials said.

He said he saw injured people, including a woman who "had tracks all over her body".

There is no indication the incident, which unfolded just before noon, was an act of terrorism, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials said.

The driver was identified by police as Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx.

Authorities stress the investigation is ongoing, but details are beginning to emerge about the man who incited horror and total panic in the Crossroads of the World. Blood tests are underway to check for the presence of synthetic marijuana or PCP among other substances.

"A woman in front on the sidewalk was hit and tossed before then auto reached 44th st, continued plowing people down at full speed up to 45th street, where it was stopped after crashing into more people and the light post", posted Instagram user Ed G Val, who from across the street "saw the vehicle speeding north on the west sidewalk of southbound 7th Ave".

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. According to Navy records obtained by the Washington Post, he was most recently based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and was discharged from there in 2014.

Rojas was charged with misdemeanour battery and resisting an officer without violence, but it was unclear how the case was resolved.

As for Thursday, city officials said Rojas was driving south on Seventh Avenue when he made a sharp U-turn and drove onto the sidewalk. He left the Navy in May 2014. Television footage showed police officers restraining a man in a dark T-shirt and placing him in a police auto.

"One male in custody in the #TimesSquare vehicle collision", the NYPD said on Twitter.

The driver of the 2009 Honda Accord - Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, is in custody.

The apartment building where Rojas lives was cordoned off by police Thursday.

"That stretch between 42nd and 43rd Street is always the most crowded".

"The scene here is really awful".

A wrecked vehicle sits in the intersection of 45th and Broadway in Times Square in New York City, May 18, 2017.

"It's a really sad scene".

"I'm shaken", said Long, who wasn't injured. "They mowed everyone down". "[The driver] was screaming - no particular words - but he was screaming and flailing his arms in all kinds of directions".

But the bollards are not just there to stop terrorists. "He smashed into the pole and, boom, straightaway the vehicle went on fire", Baidoo said.