A speeding vehicle has struck pedestrians in New York City’s Times Square, killing one person and injuring 19 others.
Emergency services have cordoned off the area, which is popular with tourists.
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New York Police Department (NYPD) said the driver of the car was in custody and being tested for alcohol.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill identified the driver of the vehicle as 26-year-old Richard Rojas, a New York resident.
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One male in custody in the #TimesSquare vehicle collision.
It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 18, 2017
The incident caused instant jitters after recent deadly car-ramming attacks in London, Berlin and the French city of Nice.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them tourists from around the world, pass daily through the bustling commercial area.
Television footage showed police officers restraining a man and placing him in a police car.
Firefighters said the accident took place at 45th Street and Broadway in Times Square at the start of the lunch hour.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 18, 2017
The maroon sedan vehicle, travelling at high speed, crashed into the group of people and ended up flipping onto its side on the pavement, before ambulances and police descended on the area, an AFP news agency photographer said.
The vehicle was on fire as pedestrians lay on the ground and passers-by cried, the photographer said.
“Preliminarily, it looks more like a vehicle accident than anything else,” an NYPD spokesperson told AFP.
Update from Times Square regarding the vehicle collision https://t.co/2YLEVtCgN5
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 18, 2017
Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from New York, said law-enforcement officials were at the scene and talking to eye witnesses to gather as much information as possible.
“This was an incredibly scary moment, happening right in the heart of Times Square where hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists were mixing with the local workers during lunch time,” he said.
|The driver of the maroon vehicle was taken into custody [Reuters]|
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies
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