The man charged with mowing down more than 20 people in Times Square, one fatally, pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday.
Richard Rojas, 26, is accused of purposely driving his car onto the curb on Seventh Avenue and West 42nd Street just before noon on May 18, and then speeding up on the sidewalk for several blocks, hitting people as he went. He crashed into a metal bollard near 45th street, jumped from the car and trying to flee before being tackled by a traffic agent and civilians.
Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Portage, Michigan, was killed when she was struck between 42nd and 43rd streets, police said. At least 20 others, including Elsman’s 13-year-old sister, Ava, were injured in the rampage.
Rojas, who police said served in the Navy from 2011 to 2014, had prior arrests, including two previous DWI arrests.
Following the crash, Rojas allegedly told police he smoked marijuana laced with PCP, and had yelled after the incident, “I wanted to kill them,” according to court records.
Rojas later told the New York Post he didn’t remember any of that, adding “I can’t believe it.”
He was charged with a slew of offenses, including murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, multiple counts of attempted murder and assault.