Richard Rojas was ruled not at fault for the fatal Times Square crash due to his mental instability

What happened to Richard Rojas? 

The guy who ploughed his car through a gathering of onlookers in Times Square in 2017, killing a teenager and injuring numerous others, has received his verdict.  Richard Rojas was freed by a jury on Wednesday due to his mental disorder.

The family of the murdered teen was exclusively interviewed by Alice Gainer of CBS2. The verdict was not what Alyssa Elsman’s family had hoped for, they claimed. Rojas is still being held and will soon have another hearing.

The jury agreed to a defence of insanity that claimed Rojas, who was 26 at the time, was so psychologically disturbed that he was unable to control his actions when he drove through pedestrians in Times Square.

A family member claimed, “The legal system failed us.” Ava Elsman, a 13-year-old from Michigan who was visiting New York City with her family at the time, was seriously hurt, suffering from a broken leg, a punctured lung, and broken ribs. During the trial, she testified. Alyssa Elsman, her older sister, died; she was 18 years old.  Ava Elsman remarked, “I have to live the rest of my life without my sister.

Abigail McGuire, Alyssa’s best friend, was equally angry.  McGuire stated, “I simply wanted the world to know that she did not deserve this. She was really an ordinary girl. She had a job at Sonic. She was a senior sibling.”

That day, more than 20 persons suffered injuries. In court, videos of the car from all sides and images of their injuries were displayed.

What did Richard Rojas’ family members say?

Rojas’s brother and other family members spoke in court about how his mental health continued to deteriorate after he was discharged from the Navy in 2014. He watched the verdict in person but made no remarks outside the courthouse.

However, they maintained Rojas, now 31 years old, knew what he was doing by choosing the Crossroads of the World and had full control of his car when he drove precisely onto the sidewalk for several blocks. Prosecutors claimed Rojas was experiencing a psychotic episode and was hearing voices.

The defence presented a video of Rojas yelling “What happened?” as he jumped out of his car and claimed to have “lost his mind” and been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Attorney Enrique DeMarco stated, “This is, in my opinion, the proper, humanitarian conclusion.”

“I hope he receives the necessary assistance. He will receive the assistance he requires at a hospital,” Glenn Abolafia, a fellow defence lawyer added.

But the father of Alyssa Elsman couldn’t believe it. “He won’t be released, but he also won’t be sent to jail or required to provide a victim impact statement. It wouldn’t have disturbed me in the slightest if he had been able to spend his final days in Rikers. Therefore, it’s awful,” said Thomas Elsman.

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