Filipino witnesses recall Thursday’s Times Square car crash attack

MANHATTAN, NY —  It was the screaming and the sound of bodies bouncing off the car that Martin Poblador cannot forget.

Martin, his wife Cecille and their two sons, Andres and Roque, and their nanny were in New York City’s bustling Times Square just before noon Thursday, when a driver plowed his car into pedestrians.

Martin says they were so close to getting hurt, but fate intervened.

“Very close; actually if I didn’t ask for directions we were right on the path of the car, 30 seconds after the car sped behind us… wow, very very thankful and lucky. It’s all sinking now how lucky we were.”

Martin and his family are from Mandaluyong, Philippines; visiting New York.

Just before noon, they got off the subway on 42nd street and 7th avenue, when a car going the wrong way at a high speed just missed striking the Pobladors.

The driver hit and killed a young woman, 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman from Portage, Michigan who was walking right in front of Martin — moments before the car came crashing through.

The car also injured 22 pedestrians.

Martin took this video, showing the devastation the driver of the 2009 Honda Accord left behind.

26-year old Richard Rojas was taken into custody and charged late Thursday with second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why Rojas would go on a rampage in Times Square on Thursday afternoon, narrowly missing the Poblador family.

Preliminary information, according to authorities, showed no terror connection. But the NYPD has increased patrols at different spots around the city.

“The perpetrator is in custody. He is a United States citizen and a former member with the Armed Forces with the United States navy,” said NY Mayor Bill de Blasio. “He has a criminal history… based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.”

According to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, no Filipinos were injured in the Times Square tragedy.



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