An arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Rojas yelled at an officer, "My life is over", and threatened to kill police after his release from jail. The serious injuries included pelvic fractures, internal bleeding and head injuries.
"She looked out for her younger siblings [and] would always play with them", the relative says, noting that they hardly argued.
The crash happened at midday on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of people into the streets to enjoy the good weather.
Thursday's incident revived memories of July previous year when a man driving a truck killed at least 84 people, 10 of them children, and injured 202 in the French city of Nice.
Majid was working at 45th Street and Seventh Avenue when Rojas hit the stanchion, CWA Local 1182 President Syed Rahim told DNAinfo New York.
"People just got stunned", he said.
The auto came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk. Police said Rojas made a quick U-turn onto 42nd Street and drove up the sidewalk for three blocks, passing tourist draws like the Hard Rock Cafe and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant and mowing people down before slamming into a pole.
"There were a lot of people out, enjoying the good day, and then I heard screaming and the auto running over bodies", she said.
Dead is 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman, who graduated from Portage Central last year. He said he leaped out of the way to avoid being struck. "I think he saved my life".
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNYC Mayor Bill de Blasio"There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism
Cheryl Howard and her daughter were out shopping when the vehicle sped down the sidewalk.
He said the driver was "just mowing down people". She ran into a building and prayed, she said.
"I'm so freaked out!"
Minutes before her death, Elsman shared a picture of Times Square on her Instagram story.
Alyssa Elsman, 18, was a kind, compassionate student known around the school for selling delicious muffins she baked in a cooking class, principal Eric Alburtus said. The woman's 13-year-old sister was among the injured. "She would always text me back as quick as she could and when I didn't hear from her or her friend, I knew something frightful happened", he told NYPost. He'd been in a good mood because he recently had his Honda returned to him after a period of being unable to pay for the vehicle.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio rushed to the scene. President Donald Trump, whose home at Trump Tower is one mile from the crash scene, was made aware of the incident nearly immediately and given updates, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted.
Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, but more detailed testing was being done to determine if he was high, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The sidewalks around Times Square are secured with more than 200 steel bollards meant to prevent accidental or criminal vehicle intrusions, said Rob Reiter, chief security consultant for CalPipe Security Bollards.
Rojas attended college and works in real estate, Ramos said.More news: Melissa McCarthy as Spicer seen riding podium in street