NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Four people who were hit by a car in Times Square on Thursday remained in critical condition Friday at two local hospitals. One woman is in very critical condition.
Alyssa Elsman, 18, of Michigan, was killed and 20 others, including Elsman’s 13-year-old sister, were hurt when Richard Rojas drove through dozens of pedestrians on the sidewalk in Times Square around noon Thursday, police said.
Her family drove up from Michigan overnight and her father told CBS2’s Jessica Layton he is a distraught dad but knows his daughter did not suffer. She was killed instantly.
The victims have injuries ranging from broken bones to internal bleeding and head trauma, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
In all, nineteen people were treated at local hospitals. At least eight were still hospitalized Friday. The one patient in very critical condition is a 38-year-old woman from Canada, police said.
“We also have Alyssa’s 13-year-old sister Eva, who is being treated at Cornell Hospital for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis,” said William Aubry, the NYPD’s chief of Manhattan South detectives.
The incident began as Rojas was driving south on Seventh Avenue through Times Square, police said.
“As he approaches 42nd Street, he makes a quick U-turn on to the west side street, the west side sidewalk of Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street,” Aubry said. “He proceeds on that west side sidewalk for three and half blocks, where he hits a stanchion.”
The car went flying and also caught fire when it struck the stanchion along the sidewalk at 45th Street.
One man lying underneath the wreckage was Thomas Henry.
“I could see this dark-colored car, and I did not know,” he said. “I thought it was a dream.”
Beside him was his nephew, Christopher Beekhary.
“The car came down, crashed on the pole and when the car came down, it hit his head,” said Beekhary.
Beekhary, his wife and two small children were visiting Times Square from Guyana.
“I just run and just pushed the child away,” said tourist Sunita Prasad. “Because I don’t want them to get hurt, and then when I turned around, I saw him down on the ground. I don’t know what to do.”
Henry walked out of Bellevue Hospital on Thursday night. Others are not as fortunate.
CBS2 spoke to the son of retired Brooklyn teacher William Nelson Sr., who said he is on a breathing machine after being hit.
Elsman, who died instantly, was a college student and worked at a restaurant.
“She was just a great person and a great friend, and she always was,” said friend and coworker Tramaine Carmouche. “Just made me happy.”
The mayor’s office tweeted Thursday that anyone missing family members who may have been near Times Square at the time of the crash should call 311 for help filing a missing person’s report.
Rojas, 26, has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated vehicular homicide. He was arraigned Friday, but did not enter a plea. He is due back in court next week.