What to Know
- Richard Rojas insists he needs help and that he deliberately crashed into the crowd of pedestrians
- One of his victims in critical condition is Jessica Williams, a 19-year-old student from New Jersey
- Rojas is on suicide watch and apologizes to his victims
The driver in the Times Square crash that killed an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan and injured a crowd of pedestrians, said he knew he was losing his mind leading up to the horrific incident, according to a newspaper report.
In an exclusive interview with the New York Post at Rikers Island where he was being held Saturday, Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, said he was "trying to get help."
"I wanted to fix my life."
The former Navy man told police that he smoked marijuana laced with PCP and has a history of DWI arrests, including one where he was driving faster than 99 mph in a 50 mph zone, police said.
He said he remembered eating with his mother at their Highbridge home Thursday morning when he decided to go for a drive. He said he couldn't remember what was going through his mind during the drive.
“The last thing I remember is driving in my car,” he recalled. “Then, I woke up in the precinct ... I was terrified.”
Rojas also told New York Post that he wants to watch the videos of Thursday's rampage to "verify that I'm the person," he said.
Rojas is charged with second-degree murder, 20 counts of second-degree attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, police said.
One victim has been identified as a New Jersey high school student.
Jessica Williams, a 19-year-old student from Dunellen High School, remains in critical condition, according to a GoFundMe page dedicated to her recovery. She was visiting midtown on Senior Skip Day with a friend when Rojas accelerated and slammed into them and the crowd.
Williams' injuries include a fractured pelvis and broken leg, according to the Daily News.
“Her spleen was removed yesterday and the damage to her face was stitched up today,” her cousin Nicole Guild said on the GoFundMe page.
What happening in Times Square?? This car was in the sidewalk and people are on the streets pic.twitter.com/PsepRtfrAr— gb (@gb__) May 18, 2017
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
Crazy car crash in the middle of Times Square. We are being told to shelter in place pic.twitter.com/jvEhISIhcn— Christopher Rudolph (@chrisreindeer) May 18, 2017
yc times square car in flames https://t.co/8VqYchgLKk— Richard D. (@flacoman91) May 18, 2017
One male in custody in the #TimesSquare vehicle collision.— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 18, 2017
It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation.
My heart goes out to the family who lost a loved one and those injured in Times Square crash. Thank you to NYFD and NYPD for swift response— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) May 18, 2017
In Times Square getting briefed by the NYPD. pic.twitter.com/xUR4kAPBnZ— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 18, 2017
Currently on suicide watch, Rojas expressed sorrow to those he hurt.
“I just want to apologize to all the victims’ families," he told the Post. "I want to apologize to my mom.”