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Woman killed after car plows into pedestrians in Times Square; no indication of terrorism

A driver plowed into a crowd in New York’s Times Square midday Thursday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 others, police said.

The motorist, a Navy veteran, tried to flee the scene, according to police, but was tackled by a traffic agent.

There is no indication of terrorism based on information at this time, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Police said the driver is in custody and this is believed to be an isolated incident.

A witness told ABC station WABC the scene was total “chaos” and “everybody was trying to help.”

Police said the car, a 2009 Honda Accord, struck 23 pedestrians and 22 people were taken to nearby hospitals, including the 13-year-old sister of the deceased victim. Officials said four people are in critical condition, three others suffered serious injuries and the other 15 people have less serious injuries.

The driver was identified by police as Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx. At 11:55 a.m. he was driving south on 7th Avenue when he made a quick U-turn onto a sidewalk at 42nd Street and sped along the sidewalk for three-and-a-half blocks, striking multiple pedestrians until crashing at 45th Street, according to law enforcement.

After Rojas crashed, he fled the car but was detained by police and civilians, police said. He allegedly punched a police officer as they took him into custody, sources said.

Rojas has had multiple arrests, including two for driving while intoxicated, police said.

Investigators are reviewing Rojas’ criminal history and are in the process of interviewing him.

A witness told WABC that the driver got out of the car after the crash and ran across the street. The driver was then tackled by police officers, the witness said.

Another witness told WABC a driver drove onto the sidewalk and drove over multiple people.

The car appeared to catch fire after crashing.

The mayor said major sites in city will get additional police coverage from anti-terror units.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was at the scene getting briefed by New York Police Department officers, said in a statement, “Today’s events at Times Square were nothing short of horrific. I was briefed at the scene by Commissioner O’Neill and saw firsthand the professionalism and diligence of New York’s first responders. As facts continue to emerge, my heart goes out to the victims of this terrible tragedy, as well as their families.”

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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