Father of Times Square car crash victim thanks New York in emotional letter

Andrew Bahl
The letter from Thomas Elsman, father of the 18-year-old Times Square car crash victim, Alyssa. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

The father of an 18-year-old woman killed when a driver plowed his car through a crowd of pedestrians in New York’s Times Square last week left an open letter at the scene of the rampage to thank the city for an outpouring of support as he mourns the loss of his daughter.

Police say 26-year-old Richard Rojas admitted he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP sometime before he rammed his car through a busy tourist area, killing Alyssa Elsman, a teenager from Michigan who was visiting New York on vacation.

City officials say they do not believe the incident was an act of terrorism.

Elsman’s father, Tom Elsman, left a letter at an impromptu memorial that sprang up near the site of his daughter’s death.

Surrounded by flowers and stuffed animals left by passersby, the note thanked both the New York Police Department and city residents for their support.

“There is no word that can express our gratitude with the outpouring of love and support this city has shown us,” Elsman wrote, adding that he has received support from “many people from different countries, religions, creeds. Etc.”

“It doesn’t matter… you have shown us that when you remove bias…racism…and ignorance… WE ARE ONE… Your condolences have been sincere and taken to heart,” Ellsman said.

The note also mourned the loss of his daughter, a native of central Michigan who had graduated from Portage Central High School last year.

“I have a hole in my heart that can never be filled,” he said in the letter. “My world changed when you came into it and it is unexplainable with you leaving it. I love you kid. Just no words.”

Elsman’s 13-year-old sister was also hurt in the incident, along with 21 other pedestrians. The siblings were visiting New York with their mother and one of Alyssa Elsman’s friends, according to the New York Post.

The impromptu memorial in Times Square. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News.)

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