A deranged motorist mounted a sidewalk and plowed into pedestrians in Times Square Thursday — killing one and injuring 22 others, cops and sources said.
The driver, Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, was taken into custody following his three-block rampage, authorities said.
Sources said Rojas, who was fascinated with Scientology, told cops something along the lines of, “This was the last day on Earth.”
‘This wasn’t like a normal interview,” a source said. “He’s rambling.”
Rojas’ maroon Honda Accord carved a path of destruction along Seventh Ave. just before noon, knocking down pedestrians on the sidewalk like bowling pins, police and witnesses said.
“It looked like he was trying to hit them,” said witness Annie Donahey, 24. “He wasn’t trying to go back on the street.”
Michigan tourist Alyssa Elsman, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene. Her 13-year-old sister was injured, officials said.
“I just found out,” Elsman’s sobbing aunt said.
Four victims were rushed to area hospitals in critical condition.
They suffered “open fractures and multiple traumas,” but the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, said FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro.
Three suffered serious injuries, and 15 others sustained minor injuries, authorities said.
“This is a tough day for New York City, but as usual, the people of New York City will stand firm, will be resilient,” Mayor de Blasio said.
De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill rushed to the area, fearing the incident was an act of terror.
In a news conference at the scene, they repeated several times that the incident didn’t appear to be terror-related.
“The worst went through my mind and that’s why the mayor and I came here as quickly as we could,” O’Neill said.
Rojas was traveling south on Seventh Ave. when he inexplicably made a sharp U-turn and roared onto the sidewalk, cops said.
The car barreled into nearly two dozen pedestrians as it sped along the sidewalk for more than three blocks, cops said.
Witnesses said the driver kept going even as a body clung to his windshield.
Donahey said she heard several sickening “thuds” as the car mowed down the crowds enjoying the sunny weather.
“It was the sounds of bodies being hit. Then came the screams,” she said.
“People were jumping out of the way, but he just kept going.”
The road rampage ended at W. 45th St., when Rojas’ sedan slammed into a stanchion and flipped on its side.
“Thank God that he hit it or he would have went right into Swatch,” said street vendor Duane Jackson, 64.
Rojas tried to flee the scene but was grabbed by a pair of bystanders. He’s being tested for alcohol and drugs.
“He was on something definitely,” said witness Anthony McInnis, 49.
“He was sweating like crazy. He was erratic.”
Rojas’ Honda left behind a three-block trail of wounded victims, pools of blood and scattered car parts.
“It was total chaos, total shock,” said Kelly Graves, 54, a tourist from Wisconsin. “You didn’t know what happened until you actually saw people and the police running and people laying on the sidewalk.”
Rojas’ friends said he was out drinking last night and appeared to be in good spirits.
“This is really crazy,” said pal Jose Medrano.
“He doesn’t cause trouble. This is really weird. He’s a low key person. He’s a family man.”
Rojas’s most recent DWI arrest took place in Manhattan in 2015. He was busted on the same charge in Queens in 2008, cops said.
Rojas was also arrested in May for menacing.