Deadly New Year's crash near Rochester venue being investigated as possible terrorism: source

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Fiery car crash being investigated as possible act of terror: source
Eyewitness News has more on the investigation.

ROCHESTER, New York (WABC) -- A deadly, fiery crash that occurred outside an entertainment venue in upstate New York early New Year's Day is being investigated as possible terrorism, a law enforcement source briefed on the case told ABC News.

The crash happened around 12:50 a.m. as a concert with about 1,000 people in attendance let out at the Kodak Center in Rochester.

Rochester Police Department Officers were assisting with crossing pedestrians at the crosswalk in front of the venue, when just before the crosswalk, a Ford Explorer heading eastbound struck a Mitsubishi Outlander that was leaving the nearby parking lot, according to authorities.

The force of the crash caused the two vehicles to go through a group of pedestrians at the crosswalk, and into two other vehicles.

A large fire broke out after the crash which took firefighters nearly an hour to extinguish.

Two people in the Mitsubishi Outlander were killed and the driver was taken to Rochester General Hospital in non-life-threatening condition.

Numerous pedestrians, including a Rochester Police officer, were nearly struck by the vehicles.

Three pedestrians were struck and taken to Strong Hospital. One of them is currently in life-threatening condition, and the other two are in non-life-threatening condition.

The driver of the Ford Expedition was taken to Strong Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Authorities say that after the fire was extinguished, first responders found at least a dozen gasoline canisters in and around the Ford Expedition.

As a result, the Rochester Police Department Bomb Squad and Joint Arson Task Force responded to the scene.

The investigation is being led by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, including local police and the FBI.

Authorities do not yet know if this was a case of terrorism, but they are investigating it that way until they can determine what happened and why.

Law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News that the driver of the Ford Expedition is from Syracuse and that he drove his own vehicle to the airport in Syracuse where he rented the extra-large SUV.

Investigators are currently going through the devices and social media of the driver of the Ford, and they are talking to friends and relatives to see if they can piece together additional information that might explain why there were so many gas cans there.

Additionally, the Mitsubishi that was involved in the crash was an Uber.


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