Witnesses watch Times Square car crash in horror

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"People scattered, running back this way, and then everyone was like just falling; a little like somebody got ran over; somebody got hit", said witness Max Padillo.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination in New York City. He is a Navy veteran from the Bronx. "It kind of shows how sad it is to be a veteran, as well as how unsafe it is to be a drunk driver", said Andre Dottin of Brooklyn.

Commissioner Daniel Nigro of the New York Fire Department said all of the injured were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

Fox News reported that Rojas has had two prior driving while intoxicated incidents. Her 13-year-old sister was also hurt in the crash, officials said.

The driver of the vehicle that careened through New York City's Times Square yesterday was a US Navy veteran who had been arrested at least four times before for offenses including drunk driving and threatening someone with a knife, according to police officials and public records.

Richard Rojas, 26, has lived with his mother in an apartment on Walton Avenue since the Navy imposed its most punitive sanction possible short of a court martial - a less-than-honorable discharge - in May 2014, a Pentagon source said.

He was arrested last week on a charge of menacing.

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"There were people on top of the hood that were being flown over the sides and the girl who had been walking next to me. was in a heap on the ground, and she was clearly dead, and it just happened so quickly", she added.

"The vehicle was driving at 80 or 85 m/h against traffic, and it came here, I said 'stop! stop! stop!' but it didn't", Abdul Hamid, owner of a food cart at the corner of Broadway and W45W street, told Xinhua.

Lowe saw injured people, including a woman who "had tracks all over her body". She works at a school now as a case manager for them trying to find them homes and new jobs and stuff and it's very sad when things like this happen because it doesn't make the case any better.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before NY authorities confirmed the death. When he had arrived in the city earlier, Heller said, the New Jersey resident said he saw the commotion and chose to avoid the more hectic than usual crowds at Times Square.

The official told The Associated Press that the driver was taken into custody after the Thursday lunchtime crash and is being tested for alcohol.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism.

Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barreled through the prime tourist location and came to rest with two of its wheels in the air.

A pipe bomb exploded last September in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, lightly wounding 31 people in the last terror-related incident in NY.