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Woman killed after car driven into New York pedestrians named

Alyssa Elsman, 18, died after the crash on Times Square in New York. Credit: AP/Instagram

A teenager was killed and 22 others were injured when a speeding car drove into pedestrians in New York's Times Square.

The woman who died in the incident on Thursday was Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Portage in Michigan. Her 13-year-old sister was among those who were injured.

The arrested driver of the car has been named as 26-year-old New York resident Richard Rojas, who served in the US armed forces.

US officials do not believe the incident is terror-related.

Ms Elsman's 13-year-old sister was also caught up in the crash and is in hospital. Credit: Instagram/Alyssa Elsman

Witnesses described scenes of panic after the red Honda sedan car mounted the pavement having driven against the traffic minutes before midday in the packed tourist hot spot.

One victim was seen lying covered with a bloodstained blanket, while others were carried off in stretchers.

New York's Fire Department confirmed four people were critically injured, three suffered serious injuries and 15 were left hurt, in addition to the single fatality.

A bystander posted footage of the moment Rojas was detained by officers.

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Rojas, who is understood to live in the city's Bronx district, reportedly has previous convictions for drink driving.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the arrested driver was a US citizen and former member of the armed services.

New York resident Annie Donahey said she narrowly missed being hit as she crossed the road moments before the crash.

She said there were "lots of people on the ground covered in blood" and said "this didn't look like an accident".

However the NYPD said the collision was not thought to be a terror attack as they confirmed the arrest over the suspected "isolated incident".

Rojas is suspected to have been driving under the influence of drink or drugs and has two prior convictions for driving while under the influence (DWI).

Tests found no alcohol in his system but results have not yet come back for drugs, according to US officials.

A neighborhood friend in the Bronx, Harrison Ramos, said Rojas wasn't the same when he came back from the Navy in 2014.

"When he came back from serving, that's when he started drinking a lot," Mr Ramos told reporters. "He's not a bad person. He just needs help."

Meanwhile Ms Elsman's former principal at Portage Central High School led tributes to the "bright and funny" teenager.

"If you didn't know her, you might think she's reserved or shy," Eric Alburtus said. "But if you could talk to her for a minute, you'd realize she was engaging. She was bright. She was funny."

One person died and four were left critically injured. Credit: New York Fire Department

Numerous people who were in the area sent panicked messages on Twitter asking for information.

One bystander said: "We heard a big crash, we saw people running away."

She said when they went to investigate they saw a number of people lying injured on the ground and the crashed car on fire.

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The car was left partially on its side after getting stuck on a traffic bollard, while emergency services rushed to the scene.

President Donald Trump has been made aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.