Alyssa Elsman of Portage, Mich., was vacationing with family when she and her 13-year-old sister found themselves in the path of the speeding car driven onto a sidewalk by Richard Rojas, 26, who also injured 21 other pedestrians in the attack.
The siblings were struck just before noon as they walked along the sidewalk of Seventh Avenue, between West 42nd and 43rd streets, police officials said.
Elsman was pronounced dead at the scene. Her sister was taken to an area hospital, cops said. Less than an hour before the horrific crash, Elsman had posted a video on Instagram showing her standing atop the red staircase above the TKTS booth in Duffy Square, where she had visited one year ago. The sisters had been on vacation with their mother and one of Alyssa’s friends, Alyssa’s devastated boyfriend, Trevor West, told The Post.
West said he knew something was wrong when Elsman didn’t respond to a text message he had sent her. “She would always text me back as quick as she could, and when I didn’t hear from her or her friend I knew something horrible happened,” West said.
“I knew something was wrong.” West, who had started dating Elsman six months ago, said she was “everything” to him.
“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,” West said.
“I don’t know how I’m going to function without her ever again.”
Elsman had told him she was enjoying her trip to the Big Apple, West recalled. But she also said she had started feeling sick while walking around Thursday morning. “She felt better in Times Square,” West said. “Then I didn’t hear from her.”
Of the 22 people injured in the crash, four were in critical condition as of Thursday night and three were in serious condition, authorities said.
Elsman attended Portage Central High School and worked as a “carhop,” or roller-skating server, at a Sonic Drive-In, according to her Facebook page. She had been scheduled to return to Michigan on Tuesday.