Times Square driver accused of killing tourist: 'I want to apologize to my mom'

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 22, 2017
Accused Times Square driver: 'I want to apologize to my mom'
Sandra Bookman has the details.

NEW YORK -- Richard Rojas, the 26-year-old from the Bronx, accused of unleashing a nightmare in Times Square on Thursday is now apparently saying he is sorry.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview with the New York Post, Rojas is quoted as saying 'I just want to apologize to my Mom.'

The former Navy man was allegedly high on marijuana laced with PCP when he drove his maroon Honda up a crowded sidewalk along 7th Avenue, mowing down pedestrians, and turning one of the world's most popular tourist attractions into a scene of carnage.

In that interview with the Post, Rojas seemingly offers insight into his state of mind in the days leading up to the rampage.

"I was trying to get help. I wanted to fix my life. I wanted to get a job, get a girlfriend," he said.

"This is something beyond anything I could ever imagine, you know, my daughter came here for vacation, now I'm going to take her home and bury her," said Tom Elsman.

Tom is now struggling to come to grips with what has happened. His 18-year-old daughter, Allysa was killed in the Times Square crash. His younger daughter remains in the hospital in critical condition. Still, the grief-stricken father is marveling at the kindness of strangers.

"Down in Times Square they have a whole memorial for her...beautiful thing. The NYPD absolutely greatest guys in the world - they've taken care of our family," Tom says.

Meanwhile, Rojas faces a second-degree murder charge, and 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder. Though he insists he does not remember driving up the sidewalk, telling the Post 'I know it was my car, I know I left in it, but I want to verify that I'm the person."