By: Garrett Fishaw
On Thursday, May 18th, Alyssa Elsman, was killed in a horrific scene when a 26 year old Navy veteran jumped the curb in Times Square in New York and mowed down dozens of people during a three block rampage, who were just out and about, enjoying their day. The act of terror not only took the life of the 18 year old Michigan-native but it also left 22 others injured, four of whom are in “critical condition”.
But this wasn’t a pre-planned attack or an accident.
According to multiple reports, Richard Rojas, the driver of the vehicle, was under the influence of PCP during the attack. He reportedly told the arresting officer, “You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them.” But Rojas, who has an extensive list of run ins with the law over the past couple years, doesn’t remember doing so. As he told police in his jailhouse interview that he has no recollection of the event or what he told the police while being arrested.
Rojas has been charged with second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.
If you’re interested in seeing the graphic, stomach turning security cam footage of the event, follow this link.
Rojas’ route of destruction spanned over three blocks but would have gone even further and caused more damage, injuries and, possibly, deaths, if it were not for the steel bollard posts that quickly stopped the car. You can see the end of the crash, as well as the route and images from the crash, below:
Scary stuff, right?
While this tragic event sheds light on several subjects and issues, one thing that it truly showed was how easily someone could use their vehicle like a weapon to cause terror. And how important bollard posts are in high traffic/pedestrian-friendly areas.
Those bollard posts saved the lives of the individuals who were on that street corner, which has us here at Ideal Shield, and plenty of others, wanting more.
It’s time for high-traffic/pedestrian-friendly areas to be protected from future vehicular terrorist attacks, as well as everyday accidents that could make its way to the sidewalk or beyond, to the storefronts. And, though some local New Yorkers would rather see cars banned from the entire area, the more likely solution is bollard posts, just like multiple social media users mentioned after the Times Square crash:
Image of #TimesSquare car up against bollards show those things (mostly) work to stop vehicles. Victim toll could have been higher w/o them
— Max Kutner (@maxkutner) May 18, 2017
Prayers to victims and thanks to the civil engineers and city planners who design and redesign Times Square. The barriers held. Good work.
— Kara E (@karathebird) May 18, 2017
Those annoying barriers in Times Square finally did a job.
— Mike Cane (@mikecane) May 18, 2017
Think how much worse this would have been if those bollards hadn't been there. Times Square redesign has promoted safety.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 18, 2017
Even StorefrontCrashExpert’s Rob Reiter chimed in on how important bollards are in these situations:
— Rob Reiter (@reiter_rob) May 18, 2017
This event in Times Square shows what can happen when there aren’t bollards protecting the sidewalks against a deranged driver. But it doesn’t stop there. Look at just a couple storefront crashes where proper bollard posts weren’t installed between the parking lot/road and store:
Bollards are important. Especially when the correct bollards are installed, as it can mean the difference between life and death, literally.
StorefrontCrashExpert’s Rob Reiter spoke with USA Today about the Times Square crash and how installing bollards is more important now than ever before:
“It is very important to have barriers to keep vehicles, either with evil intent or just a disabled driver, from driving into crowds because (then) the body counts get huge,” said Reiter, citing attacks in Nice, France, and Berlin last year and February’s drunk driver crash at a Mardi Gras parade in Louisiana as examples of what can happen when bollards or other barriers aren’t in place to protect crowds.”
Protecting people is and should be the most important thing to everyone. Bollards can help do that. And New York City Councilwoman, Ydanis Rodriguez, wants to make bollard posts a regular thing throughout the streets of New York, Times Square included (per Gothamist):
“Be it a terrorist, a reckless or drunk driver or even someone who loses control at the wrong moment, many of our sidewalks remain terribly vulnerable to the type of tragedy we witnessed in Times Square yesterday,” Rodriguez stated, adding, “This was no accident and to call it such removes the necessary accountability we must face as a city.”
“It was those bollards that kept that driver yesterday from killing more people,” Steely White added. “We are here in the lens of Times Square. Everyone’s watching, right? But most often it’s a regular street in a regular neighborhood in New York City.”
Whether it’s one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, like Times Square in New York, or a storefront/pedestrian gathering area in a town in Michigan, enough is enough, it’s time for bollards to become a necessity instead of a luxury.
Because, you never know what could happen when someone’s behind the wheel of a car.
For more information on bollard posts and bollard covers, contact Ideal Shield today. As The Original Bollard Cover Company, our knowledgeable sales team will break down exactly what separates our schedule 40 and schedule 80 steel pipe bollards, as well as our wide array of customizable plastic bollard covers, from the competition.
If you’re interested in donating to the Elsman family to help with the funeral and other costs, you can donate to the Alyssa Elsman GoFundMe page.
Photo Credit: CNN.com