Driver behind Times Square rampage charged with murder


FILE – In this Thursday, May 18, 2017 file photo, a car rests on a security barrier in New York’s Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring at least a dozen people. A three-foot-tall piece of stainless steel in the ground ultimately stopped a speeding Honda Accord as it barreled down the crowded sidewalks of Times Square this week. The vehicle rampage that killed a teenage tourist in New York’s Times Square is spurring calls to further restrict cars from the so-called Crossroads of the World. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Payton Potter

Associated Press

NEW YORK — The vehicle rampage in Times Square on May 18 has prompted conversations of whether the city should still allow cars, cabs and trucks to cruise down the Manhattan intersection.

Police said Richard Rojas, a Bronx man, was high on PCP when he took a U-turn off Seventh Avenue and plowed down sidewalks leading into Times Square for three blocks, killing a teenage tourist and injuring 22 others. Rojas, 26, was charged with murder and attempted murder.

Temporary concrete barriers were installed along the Seventh Avenue sidewalk after the carnage while city officials weigh a long-term solution. That could involve installing more steel posts like the ones that eventually halted the progress of Rojas’ car.

City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said closing Seventh Avenue to cars in the Times Square area “is certainly one of the things that’s being discussed.” David C. Kelly, associate managing director of K2 Intelligence in New York City, said banning traffic is attractive from a security standpoint but would need to be carefully planned.

Kelly noted when the area around the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan was closed to cars, a garage owner filed a lawsuit arguing his livelihood would suffer.

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