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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 30 November 2021

Times Square driver says he tried to get mental help before the crash

A teenager died and 22 others were injured in the incident.

Richard Rojas appears during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Richard Rojas appears during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Image: R. Umar Abassi/AP

A MAN ACCUSED of mowing down pedestrians in Times Square, killing a teenage tourist and injuring 22 others, said he had been trying to get psychiatric help.

In a jailhouse interview on Saturday, Richard Rojas told the New York Post that he recently spoke to a mental health counsellor at a local veteran’s centre but they never got back to him.

“I was trying to get help,” Rojas told the newspaper from Rikers Island. “I wanted to fix my life. I wanted to get a job. Get a girlfriend.”

Rojas, who lived with his mother in the Bronx, drove his car through Times Square on Thursday, then made a U-turn and steered his car onto a path, crashing through tourists for three blocks before crashing into protective barriers.

After he was detained, he said he wanted to “kill them all” and that police should have shot him to stop him, a prosecutor said at his court appearance on Friday. They said Rojas also admitted to smoking marijuana laced with PCP sometime before the crash. Officials are awaiting toxicology reports.

“I just want to apologise to all the victims’ families. I want to apologise to my mom,” Rojas said during the interview.

“The last thing I remember is driving in my car,” Rojas recalled. “Then, I woke up in the precinct. I was terrified.”

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Associated Press

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