One killed, several injured as vehicle hits pedestrians in Times Square

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Police lights

The driver of the vehicle, identified by police as Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, was screaming and flailing as he got out of the auto after hitting multiple people, Bradix said.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice, according to the Navy.

Rojas returned from his Navy service with a drinking problem and had posted "crazy stuff" on social media, said a friend, Harrison Ramos, speaking to Reuters outside the apartment building where Rojas lives in New York City's Bronx borough.

De Blasio said the driver was a USA citizen and a Navy veteran.

Navy records show he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but did not say why.

"That being said, we are reinforcing key locations around the city with our anti-terror units of the NYPD so out of an abundance of caution, major sites in the city will get additional police coverage", he added. Twenty-two other people were injured in the incident.

Rojas was arrested and will be tested for drugs and alcohol, police said. NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue said they had received 13 patients, and four were in critical condition Thusday night.

The driver attempted to flee, but was caught and held down by Good Samaritans and a traffic enforcement officer until police arrived and arrested Rojas, officials said.

Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old from the Bronx stopped twice in the past for drunk driving, drove his Honda onto the sidewalk at 11:55 am (1555 GMT), smashing into pedestrians for three blocks at high speed, police said.

He was arrested last week on a charge of menacing.

"The vehicle was driving at 80 or 85 m/h against traffic, and it came here, I said 'stop! stop! stop!' but it didn't", Abdul Hamid, owner of a food cart at the corner of Broadway and W45W street, told Xinhua.

He says the driver was "just mowing down people". We feel deeply for those injured and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost.

President Donald Trump is aware of the incident and will be updated, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted.

New York City law enforcement officials say at least one person was killed after a vehicle traveling through the popular tourist area drove into a crowd of pedestrians around lunchtime Thursday.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism.

A maroon-colored 2009 Honda Accord came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

Television images taken at the scene midday Thursday showed people being taken away on stretchers. "There is a lot of New Yorkers and tourists standing around really devastated and there's hundreds and hundreds of police officers", he told ABC.