Alyssa Elsman, 18, of Portage, Michigan was walking through the heart of Midtown Manhattan this morning with her 13-year old sister when a horrific incident occurred.
Richard Rojas, 26, of Bronx, mounted the curb in Times Square and ploughed through crowds at high speed for three and a half blocks before crashing. 22 people were injured, including Alyssa’s 13-year old sister. Alyssa was the only fatality. She passed away at the scene.
Rojas, who has a criminal history including two DWIs, had reportedly been smoking K2, synthetic marijuana, prior to the crash. It has been linked to psychotic episodes. He was seen leaping up and down in the middle of the road after smashing his car after he drove at speeds of up to 80mph, according to witneses. He blew a 0.0 when tested for alcohol at the precinct following his arrest.
Rojas told cops that he wanted to kill his victims, and that police should have shot him.
Officials said Rojas was arrested in 2008 and 2015 for driving under the influence in Queens and Manhattan, and in 2016 for menacing in different areas of New York.
Last week, he was arrested after pulling a knife on a man in the Bronx and asking him ‘do you feel safe?’. According to an arrest report, he thought the man was trying to steal his identity.
His friends said he had been drinking heavily and often spoke about ‘conspiracies, demons and devils’. After being arrested, he told authorities how he thought it was the ‘last day on earth’….
Of the 22 people hurt, the NYPD said that four people had been critically injured with open fractures and multiple traumas and three others were seriously injured – all were hospitalized. Some 15 more were not seriously injured, and were not hospitalized.
Alyssa had posted a short video of Times Square to her Instagram stories just before she died. She was visiting the city with her mother, sister and a friend.