Times Square victim named as teenager Alyssa Elsman

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Police say an 18-year-old woman killed by a car that plowed through pedestrians in Times Square was a tourist from Portage, Michigan.

Alyssa Elsman died on Thursday when a man drove his car down the sidewalk for three blocks into the heart of New York City’s theater district.

Twenty three people were struck by the car before it was stopped by a security barrier. Police say Elsman’s 13-year-old sister was among the people who were struck but survived.

Aftermath of deadly New York Times Square crash

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Elsman’s boyfriend told the New York Post that the 18-year old visiting the Big Apple with a friend and her mother.

"She motivated me, loved me, gave me everything I needed that I couldn’t give myself. And now that she’s gone, I don’t know how I’m going to fill that void," Mr West said. "I don’t know how I’m going to function without her ever again."

"We feel deeply for those injured and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost. Our prayers are with all of them," New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter.

Elsman graduated last year from Portage Northern High School.

Times Square crash, in pictures

"If you didn’t know her, you might think she’s reserved or shy," school principal Eric Alburtus said. "But if you could talk to her for a minute, you’d realise she was engaging. She was bright. She was funny."

Police identify the driver of the car as Richard Rojas, a Navy veteran from the Bronx. They say he was captured at the scene and arrested. He’s in custody.

Two law enforcement officials say Rojas told officers he was hearing voices. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to speak publicly.

Richard Rojas is escorted from the 7th precinct by New York City Police officers 

Credit:
Reuters

In the Bronx, neighborhood acquaintances said Rojas was a friendly man who had been having problems. Harrison Ramos said Rojas wasn’t the same when he came back from active duty in 2014.

"He’s been going through a real tough time," he said.

Key facts | Times Square

 

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