A trib­ute from the fa­ther of Alyssa Els­man ap­peared Mon­day morn­ing in Times Square.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - HAY­DEN MITMAN @MetroPhilly let­ters@metro.us

Over the week­end, the fa­ther of the 18-year-old girl who was killed in Times Square when an in­tox­i­cated man plowed his car through a pedes­trian-filled side­walk at the fa­mous tourist spot left a touch­ing note in mem­ory of his daugh­ter at the place where she died.

“Alyssa loved this city ... she loved Times Square,” Michi­gan res­i­dent Thomas Els­man wrote of his daugh­ter. “She would ap­pre­ci­ate all your kind words, but she would also tell us all to get back up and con­tinue.”

Over the week­end, Els­man placed his let­ter near the place where his daugh­ter was fa­tally in­jured. He had driven to New York City from his fam­ily’s home in Portage, Michi­gan, to visit his 13-year-old daugh­ter – who was in­jured in the same crash that killed Alyssa and in­jured more than 20 oth­ers – and Els­man also took the time to place a per­sonal let­ter at the makeshift me­mo­rial in Times Square.

On May 18, mil­i­tary veteran Richard Rojas in­ten­tion­ally drove his ve­hi­cle into a crowd in Times Square. At the time, Rojas had con­sumed K2, a va­ri­ety of syn­thetic mar­i­juana, which was re­port­edly laced with PCP, and he also said he in­tended to com­mit “sui­cide by cop” when he caused the fa­tal crash.

When he came to the city, Els­man ini­tially trav­eled to the po­lice dis­trict in Mid­town South, shout­ing that he

wanted to kill Rojas. At the time, Els­man was taken to Belle­vue Hos­pi­tal in or­der to give him time to deal with his grief.

But, in a note that Els­man left at the makeshift me­mo­rial to his daugh­ter, the dis­traught fa­ther ex­pressed his grief over his loss, while thank­ing the peo­ple of New York City for their love and sup­port dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.

“There is no words that can ex­press our grat­i­tude with the out­pour­ing of love and sup­port this city has shown us. Our med­i­cal staff, the NYPD and most of all, YOU,” reads the note left by Els­man. “This im­promptu me­mo­rial ded­i­cated to our daugh­ter and see­ing and talk­ing to many of you has helped me cope with our loss. I have met so 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 ALL ONE… Your con­do­lences have been sin­cere and taken to heart. Please also re­mem­ber there are 20 other fam­i­lies af­fected by this and please keep them in your thoughts too.” Rojas, a res­i­dent of the Bronx, had threat­ened to kill po­lice in the past and is cur­rently in po­lice cus­tody. He wasn’t men­tioned in Els­man’s let­ter. “I have a hole in my heart that can never be filled. My world changed when you came into it, and it is un­ex­plain­able with you leav­ing it. I love you kid. Just no words <3 Love you love you love you,” ends the let­ter that Els­man signed “Dad.”



The let­ter left at a me­mo­rial in Times Square from Thomas Els­man, the fa­ther of two vic­tims, one of whom died, in last Thurs­day’s car crash at the busy in­ter­sec­tion.


Alyssa Els­man

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