Former Member Of The Armed Forces Mows Down Pedestrians In New York

A US Navy veteran has been arrested in New York after a car was driven at high speed along a pavement in Times Square, killing an 18-year-old woman. 

Richard Rojas, who has previous convictions for drink driving, told officers he was hearing voices and expected to die.

Twenty-three people were struck by the car before it was stopped by a security barrier. 

Pedestrians had little time to react as the car went the wrong way up the pavement before smashing into a row of steel security barriers. 

Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, was standing outside a store when he heard screaming as people scattered: 

"He didn't stop, he just kept going."

The 26-year-old driver initially tested negative for alcohol, but more detailed testing was being carried out, according to two police officials.

The city's mayor, Bill De Blasio, said this is not believed to be an act of terrorism. 

A week ago, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity. He pleaded guilty to a harassment violation.

He was also arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015, police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken-driving programme and lost his licence for 90 days.

In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the police officials said.

Friends of Rojas said he was not the same when he came back from active duty in 2014.

The man enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. In 2012 he served aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer.

More recently he was based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said. Details were not immediately available.

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