The man accused of killing one person and injuring 22 others with his car in Times Square is blaming the victims for the crash.
Richard Rojas, who allegedly smoked PCP before he barreled his Honda Accord down a Seventh Avenue sidewalk full of people, denied responsibility for the May 2017 incident in new court documents cited by the New York Post.
Rojas was charged with murder, attempted murder and assault charges and pleaded not guilty last year, according to CBS News.
He blamed the victims in response to a civil lawsuit filed by the family of slain Michigan teen Alyssa Elsman and six survivors, the Post reported.
Any injuries sustained by 18-year-old Elsman and the other six people injured, Rojas' countersuit claims, “were contributed in whole or in part by [their] culpable conduct,” the Post reported. Plus, the victims' insurance companies or worker's compensation will cover their bills, his legal team claims.
The suit names Rojas and the city as co-defendants, and says New York City should have known that Times Square was a target for attacks and done a better job of protecting them.
“New York City knew that pedestrians in this area were targeted previously, and remained a target for criminal activity and terrorist acts, yet the City failed to provide reasonable and expected protection and security from such criminal activity and terrorist acts,” the suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, reads, according to the New York Post.
The other plaintiffs in the suit are Destiny Lightfoot, Caroline Johns, Gayatri Jariwala, Shahil Jariwala, William McCollough and Catherine McCoullough.
Rojas is also suing the city and saying it's to blame for “carelessness, recklessness or negligence.”
Rojas' civil attorney Kenneth Pitcoff didn't return the Post's requests asking for an explanation about Rojas' countersuit regarding the city’s negligence, but the newspaper said it's probably in reference to a lack of safety barriers in places like Times Square.
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Post that the city has installed concrete blocks and barriers around the city at many places deemed sensitive.
Rojas has a checkered past, according to the Post. He's been arrested numerous times for offenses ranging from drunk driving to weapons charges to harrasment. He was also arrested in 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla. after he allegedly attacked a cabdriver and said he was going to kill cops, the Post reported.
[Photo: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office]
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