Driver speeds into Times Square pedestrians, killing 1, injuring 23

The driver of a speeding car that crashed into pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City's busy Times Square on Thursday, killing one person and injuring 23 others was hearing voices, police sources say.

Suspect in the noontime crash told officers he was hearing voices, police say

A vehicle that struck pedestrians and later crashed is seen on the sidewalk in New York City on Thursday. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Two law enforcement officials say a driver accused of running down pedestrians in New York's Times Square told officers he was hearing voices and expected to die.

The driver of a speeding car crashed into pedestrians on a busy sidewalk at lunchtime in Times Square, killing one person and injuring 23 others.

An 18-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police identified the suspect as Richard Rojas, 26.

Negative for alcohol

Two law enforcement officials said Rojas tested negative for alcohol, but drug tests were still pending.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Police said the 26-year-old navy veteran from the Bronx was arrested last week after he pointed a knife at a notary and accused the notary of stealing his identity.

One official said Rojas told authorities when he was arrested previously that he believed he was being followed.

No indication of terror attack

It isn't clear when Rojas might get a lawyer.

"Based on what we have on the moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terror," said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a news conference about 90 minutes after the incident..

The mayor said that out of an abundance of caution key locations around the city were being reinforced by members of the city's anti-terror unit.

Police say the 18-year-old killed was Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Portage, Mich.

Elsman's 13-year-old sister was among the people who were struck but survived, say police.

Critical patients stabilized

Four persons were transported in critical condition to hospital, and several people suffered fractures and serious injuries, said New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. He said the conditions of the four critical were stabilized after arriving at hospital.

James O'Neill, the city's police commissioner, said the driver of the Honda Accord sped and caused mayhem in the incident beginning at Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street culminating at 45th and Broadway.

The incident began at 11:54 a.m. ET.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them visitors from around the world, pass daily through the bustling commercial area, the heart of the Broadway theatre district.

Television footage soon after the incident showed police officers restraining a man in a dark T-shirt and placing him in a cruiser.

'I'm so freaked out!'

Witnesses said the motorist had driven against traffic and onto the sidewalk, striking pedestrians.

"People were being hit and rolling off the car," said Josh Duboff, an employee at the adjacent Thomson Reuters headquarters who jumped out of the way to avoid being struck.

Cheryl Howard and her daughter were out shopping when the car sped down the sidewalk. "I'm so freaked out!" the daughter said. "They mowed everyone down."

Howard had blood dripping down her right arm and a swollen bruise above her left eye. One injured woman nearby had a large open wound on her leg.

Police cordoned off an area from 41st to 47th streets and from Sixth to Eighth avenues, effectively shutting down one of the busiest parts of one of the busiest cities in the world.

With files from CBC News and Reuters