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Woman killed and 22 injured as car hits Times Square crowd

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A woman is dead and 22 other people injured after a car sped on to a pavement in New York City’s Times Square, the fire department says.

The 26-year-old driver, a US Navy veteran and US citizen, is in custody.

“There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The maroon Honda jumped the kerb and travelled for three blocks before crashing.

Photos showed the sedan partially on its side on the pavement with smoke and flames spewing from the bonnet.

As-it-happened: Times Square emergency

In pictures: Times Square car crash

The crash follows recent deadly car-ramming attacks in London, Berlin, France, Israel and Sweden.

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The FBI is investigating the incident at the Midtown Manhattan tourist venue, but so far officials say there is no terror link.

NYPD said the suspect, Richard Rojas, is a Bronx resident who was arrested in 2008 and 2015 for drunk driving.

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Police believe the suspect was reportedly was high on synthetic marijuana, known as K2, ABC News reported, citing law enforcement sources.

Initial tests reportedly came back negative for alcohol but positive for drugs.

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“It is believed to be an isolated incident, it remains under investigation,” the New York Police Department said on Twitter.

City authorities said they would nevertheless deploy extra police from anti-terror units to key locations around the city as a precaution.

The vehicle jumped the kerb at 45th Street and Broadway at 1155 local time (1655 GMT) and drove at high speed before crashing into a pole.

Witness Annie Donahey, 24, told the New York Times: “It was going at a fast rate of speed and to me it looked it was trying to hit as many people as possible.

“People were trying to jump out of the way.”

Photos from the scene showed casualties strewn across the walkway.

One person was covered with a white cloth.

Among those hurt, four were in critical condition and three sustained serious injuries, according to the fire department.

The department said 15 other victims suffered less serious injuries.

Police said an 18-year-old woman died and her 13-year-old sister was among the injured.

“People were being hit and rolling off the car,” said witness Josh Duboff, who jumped out of the way to avoid being struck.

Twitter user Michael Rickerby wrote: “just witnessed a car running people over in times square. scariest moment of my life. what is wrong with some people?!”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement the event was “nothing short of horrific”.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump had been informed about the incident.

Times Square was the target of an attempted attack in May 2010 when a Pakistani immigrant planted a car bomb at an intersection.

The device failed to detonate and he was arrested shortly after boarding a flight to the Middle East.

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