U.S. navy veteran crashes car, killing 1 and injuring 22 at Times Square

A recent accident shocked bystanders when a navy veteran deliberately drove three blocks in the wrong direction and crashed his car, killing 1 and injuring 22, at the Times Square on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Richard Rojas, 26, took a quick and illegal U-turn onto Seventh Avenue in the heart of Times Square and sped along it for three blocks. On being caught and interrogated, he blamed the entire incident to some voices in his head that asked him to kill people and also said that he, himself, was expected to die as it was his last day on Earth.

Police have charged Rojas with second-degree murder, 20 counts of second-degree attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Contrary to Rojas’ statement, the police are considering the possibility of the entire incident being deliberate as the suspect told them that he had smoked a certain drug. Although he blew a 0.0 when tested for alcohol at the place where he was brought for questioning, the authorities are still in doubt as Rojas told the officials of his history of psychiatric problems.

Rojas has a history of offenses recorded against him. Just a week prior, Rojas had been arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity. In 2008 and 2015, he had been charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and had lost his license for 90 days.

Rojas, a former member of the armed services, is known by many as a “good person.” Although the investigations about the incident are in progress, this man definitely incited horror and panic on the roads when he emerged screaming from his crashed Honda Accord.

Mental illness and substance abuse ruins life

Although the authorities have ruled out the incident as an act of terrorism, it cannot be denied that Rojas had smoked some substance and was being directed by voices in his head. Both these are classic signs of substance abuse and mental illness.

A mental illness can change the way an individual feels and thinks about different things and situations in life. The condition can affect any individual belonging to any section of the society and is very likely to develop into a person who is a substance abuser.

When an individual is diagnosed with both mental illness and substance abuse at the same time, the condition is referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. It is not certain whether an individual will get affected by a mental illness first and substance addiction later or vice-versa.

The symptoms of the condition are a combination of both mental illness and substance abuse. Mentioned below are few of these that can help one easily diagnose the condition so that he/she may seek medical help immediately:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shaky hands
  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor performance
  • Mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal from social circles
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anger-related issues
  • Fear and anxiety

Road to recovery

Taking help from a professional expert and ensuring that both mental illness and substance addiction are treated simultaneously can help an individual attain quick recovery. Helping the victims develop self-confidence through therapies, such as individual therapy, medication and holistic therapy can also serve as a great help.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental health issue, 24/7 Mental Health Helpline can help you connect with one of the best residential mental health facilities in your vicinity. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 and chat online with one of our representatives to know about the best mental health residential facilities or mental health rehabilitation centers in the U.S.