New York City Drunk Driver

Ella Toback, Reporter

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Around 12 p.m. yesterday, in Times Square, the bustling heart of New York City, a sedan crashed into a group of pedestrians walking down the sidewalk. One 18-year-old person died, while 22 others were injured. The car, a maroon Honda accord, made a U-turn on 42nd street and traveled along the sidewalk for just over three blocks before coming to a stop at the barricades in front of the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Screaming and frenzied pedestrians raced to the side streets, moving away from what had become a murder scene. Thoughts of an attempted car-bomb attack in 2010, and the recent acts of terror by vehicles overseas were present in the minds of onlookers.

The driver was Richard Rojas, age 26. He is a discharged Navy officer from The Bronx with a history of drunk driving incidents and subsequent arrests. At the time of the crash, Rojas was under the influence of drugs and after a screening at Bellevue Hospital, was released into police custody. After the attack, he was charged with one murder, twenty attempted murders, and five aggravated vehicle homicides.

On May 11th, he was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon after threatening a man who came to his apartment. He pleaded guilty on May 12th. In April 2015, he was arrested for driving intoxicated in NYC, and pleaded guilty. He got his license suspended for 90 days, paid a $500 fine, had to complete a drunk driving rehab program. In 2008, he was arrested in Queens for driving under the influence again.  

An EMS teacher said, “It’s tragic. When I initially heard about it, my thoughts were worrisome, I thought it was terrorist related.”

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New York City Drunk Driver