1 dead, 22 injured after car crashes into pedestrians in Times Square

Investigators look under a smashed car that sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

One person is dead and at least 22 are hurt after a car crashed into pedestrians in Times Square Thursday.

The New York Fire Department tweeted about the crash just after noon Thursday.

Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barreled through the prime tourist location and slammed into a security barrier, coming to rest with two of its wheels in the air. The car leaned on a lamppost and steel barriers intended to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

"He didn't stop," said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he heard screaming. "He just kept going."

The crash killed an 18-year-old woman and the injured included her 13-year-old sister, police said.

The crash happened at midday on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of people into the streets to enjoy the good weather. Video posted online showed steam or smoke pouring from the car for a few moments after it stopped moving.

The driver, 26-year-old Richard Rojas, was taken into custody and was undergoing tests for alcohol and drugs, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

Citing law enforcement sources, ABC News said the initial tests have come back negative for alcohol but positive for drugs.  Blood tests are underway to check for the presence of synthetic marijuana or PCP, among other substances, sources said. Sources also said police are trying to determine whether Rojas suffers from psychological problems, based on statements made at the time of his arrest.

Rojas had been arrested at least twice previously for driving while intoxicated, once in 2008 and once in 2015, police said. He was in custody, and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney yet who could comment on his behalf.

LIVE: Times Square Crash

UPDATE: 1 person is dead and at least 20 are injured. ----------------- At least 13 people were injured when a car plowed through New York's Times Square:

Posted by WSB-TV on Thursday, May 18, 2017

A witness told ABC station 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.

The witness told WABC the scene was total "chaos" and "everybody was trying to help."

There was no indication of terrorism based on information at this time, Mayor Bill de Blasio told ABC News.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo went the scene to get briefed by New York Police Department officers.

The White House said President Donald Trump has been "made aware" of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds. Press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before New York authorities confirmed the death.

The sidewalks in many parts of Times Square and surrounding blocks are lined with metal posts designed to prevent cars from getting onto the sidewalks and other public areas.

That network of barricades, though, is far from a complete defense. There are many areas where vehicles could be driven onto packed sidewalks or public plazas.

While there are some streets closed to traffic, Broadway theaters will be open tonight and will be accessible to pedestrians.

Times Square also has a heavy police presence at all hours of the day and night.

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this article.