PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–A shocking scene that has shaken students from St. Cecilias School in Northeast Philadelphia to the core.
“I seen this lady screaming and then I heard this car and my mom turned us around and I started running and I was crying making sure my friends were ok,” said India Eugene.
The group of 8th graders were on a field trip to see a Broadway Play in New York’s Times Square when just before noon a speeding car came barreling the wrong way down 7th Avenue to the busy intersection of 7th and 42nd street.
“He just accelerated he wasn’t stopping and ran on the pavement and hit quite a few people and I just saw people flying in the air like dolls,” said Tamika Spaulding, a parent chaperone.
At that point Spaulding says she rushed as many of the children as she could into the nearby Sephora store.
An 18-year-old woman was killed and 22 others were injured before that car came to a crashing halt.
All students and staff in the St. Cecilias group of nearly 100 were unharmed.
“It was a mess and then we saw a car smoking,” said Caeleen Demusz, an 8th grader at the school.
Police have identified the driver as 26-year-old Bronx resident Richard Rojas, a man with a history of DUI arrests.
He was tackled by officers as he attempted to flee the vehicle. New York City officials called the act accidental, and it’s not believed to be an act of terrorism.
Hugs were in on hand as the buses returned to Philadelphia and the one word used to describe this trip? Blessed.
“We are just blessed all of us,” says Spaulding.
“We are definitely blessed to make it out alive and our school is definitely blessed. We thank god for that,” said Caeleen Demusz.