By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 19, 2017: A visiting family from the Caribbean are among witnesses to the horrific Times Square accident of Thursday, May 18, 2017.
Christopher Beekharry, his wife Sunita Prasad and their two children, ages 3 and 6, were visiting from the South American CARICOM nation of Guyana and touring Times Square, New York with their uncle on Thursday, May 18th when they saw a car racing towards them on the side walk.
The 2009 Honda Accord jumped onto the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street at 155 AM on Thursday and proceeded to drive at a high rate of speed along the sidewalk from 42nd Street to 45th Street, striking a number of pedestrians along the way.
The car eventually came to a stop on the northwest corner of West 45th Street, where it collided with a metal stanchion which fell on the head of their uncle, Thomas Henry, 72, of Queens Village, NY.
Beekharry and his wife luckily pushed their children out of its path but Henry was struck in the head and had to be rushed to Bellevue Medical Center.
“This car just come and I told my wife ‘Look, look. This car is insane,'” Beekharry told the Associated Press. “This guy was insane.”
Beekharry said the car crashed into a pole and the pole fell onto Henry. “When it come over, it fell on his head,” he was quoted as saying.
Alison Henry, Thomas Henry’s daughter, told the AP her dad suffered bruises to his face, including a large bump on his head.
Twenty-two other people were injured and an 18-year-old Michigan tourist died. The driver of the car has been identified as Bronx native Richard Rojas, 26, a U.S. Navy veteran.
Rojas reportedly has a criminal past, including two DWI arrests, according to NYPD officials. His test for alcohol came back negative but investigators were testing him for other substances. He climbed from the wrecked car and ran through the street before he was tackled by a group that included a muscular security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant. After he was arrested, he told officers he was hearing voices and expected to die.
Rojas has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. He is expected to face a judge today.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio hurriedly announced it was no act of terrorism but an isolated incident.