On Thursday, 26-year-old Richard Rojas, a notary and Navy veteran, ploughed down pedestrians over a three-block radius in Times Square, killing one and injuring 22, according to The New York Times.
Now, authorities say they may have some additional answers as to why this horrible tragedy took place.
Rojas, who has been arrested for driving under the influence twice before, had been high on spice (also known as K2), a synthetic marijuana which hospitalised a shocking number of people last year, at the time of the incident.
The drug, which isn’t actually made from cannabis, was banned in New York in 2012, but as our own Sarah Jacoby wrote for Refinery29 last July, “K2 products are still legally available in many states across the country and are often labeled as ‘herbal incense’ or ‘potpourri’ with packaging saying ‘not for human consumption’ as a way to get around regulation.”
Because not much is yet known about the drug, it’s hard to tell exactly how it would affect someone’s judgment while operating machinery, but officials have noted that some of K2’s side effects include “vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and death.”
ABC News reports that while authorities did not find that Rojas had been drinking before getting behind the wheel, sources told Eyewitness News that he “appeared extremely impaired after the crash,” and initial tests found he had drugs in his system. We will have more answers as to which drugs he’d used after his blood test results are released.
At this time, the incident is considered to be an isolated one.
“Based on information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, including The Times. “We all feel deeply right now for those who were injured and for their families.”