NEW YORK –– Fates were forever changed after a deranged driver plowed through 23 people, some of them tourists, in busy Times Square Thursday.
Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Elsman was a bright-eyed visitor in Times Square with her mother and little sister Thursday morning until Richard Rojas, allegedly fueled by synthetic marijuana, drove into nearly two dozen people, killing the teen.
In her hometown of Portage, Michigan, they were in shock after her death.
"Alyssa was a really thoughtful, really bright, very pleasant young lady," Eric Albertus, Elsman's high school principal said.
William Nelson's relatives told PIX11 they are thankful. The retired teacher from Brooklyn was hurt in the midtown melee. Now, he's in Bellevue Hospital with a brain injury and a broken leg.
Christopher Beekharry's was with his uncle William in Times Square when he got hit by the car.
"And when the car came to crash it crashed in the pole and when the car came down," Beekharry said."The car came down and hit his head."
Beekharry stood at the Crossroads of the World on a beautiful Thursday, visiting the US from Guyana with Nelson, his wife, Sunita Prasad and his two young children.
"We were just touring saying how beautiful that Times Square was and then this came," said Prasad who was visibly shaken during the interview. "I just need to go home and rest."
In total 22 victims were in need of treatment after a car careened through Times Square. Many were brought to Bellevue for care.
"With various traumatic injuries including open fractures including multiple traumas," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
Five were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital West for treatment. Two of them showed up their emergency room in critical condition.