A driver crashed his car into pedestrians on the footpath in New York City’s Times Square just before noon on Thursday.
Police said one person was killed in the incident. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 22 others were injured.
The New York Post is reporting that the woman killed was Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old visiting the city from Michigan with her 13-year-old sister, who was also injured in the incident.
An investigation is underway, the NYPD said, though it is “believed to be an isolated incident.” De Blasio said there is no indication the incident was terror related. Terrorists have used vehicles to crash into crowds in London, England and Nice, France in the past year.
A witness told Business Insider that she heard the driver scream before the crash. The New York Times is reporting the driver appeared to be intoxicated.
Elena Kovachenko, a 16-year-old high school student from Queens, told Business Insider that she heard “bodies fall on the ground” when the car plowed through.
“It was horrible, and you could just see, he didn’t stop. Once he kept hitting from that side, he just kept going down and down and down” along the footpath, she said.
“It was as if his car was like a bowling ball, and people were just the pins, because so many people kept falling and falling. It didn’t seem like it was going to stop.”
It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday and Times Square was full of people.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock. I just stood there,” Kovachenko said. “I was just so thankful I wasn’t on the other side. I just can’t imagine what those people are going through right now.”
De Blasio offered his condolences to the victims and their families.
“This is a tough day for New York City, but I want to thank our first responders who got here so quickly,” he said. “We feel deeply for those injured and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost. Our prayers are with all of them.”
News of the incident quickly spread on social media:
Times Square just went nuts. People screaming and running, the place is swarming with emergency vehicles and cops. People injured. WTF pic.twitter.com/oqQFcr75Uh
— Josh Silverman (@Bad_Episode) May 18, 2017
At least one person killed by vehicle in Tiimes Square. Body covered with blanket, blood. Multiple others injured. Ambulances on scene.
— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) May 18, 2017
On the scene in TimesSquare. 1 dead. Over a dozen injured. Looks like DWI & not terrorist incident. Horrible day. Thanks for all responders. pic.twitter.com/ELPSl0BHoJ
— Corey Johnson (@CoreyinNYC) May 18, 2017
People don’t know “what it is” or “why it happened.” Kids were crying.
— Jeremy Berke (@jfberke) May 18, 2017
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