Times Square crash: 5 still hospitalized, but teen goes home

NEW YORK (AP) — A New Jersey high school senior and another person mowed down by a driver on a Times Square sidewalk were released from hospitals Tuesday, but five other victims are still hospitalized, school and hospital officials said.

The patients include one of the New Jersey student’s own classmates.

A Michigan teen was killed, and 22 other people were injured, when a driver who told police he was high on drugs plowed through a pedestrian-packed sidewalk for three blocks Thursday before hitting a barrier.

Among the injured were Destiny Lightfoot and Jessica Williams, both students a month from graduating from New Jersey’s Dunellen high school.

Lightfoot was released Tuesday morning from Bellevue Hospital, Dunellen Public Schools Superintendent Gene Mosley said. Meanwhile, Mount Sinai Health System said it released its last patient from the crash Tuesday afternoon.

Williams remained in the hospital after surgery on her legs Monday, Mosley said.

Relatives of the students couldn’t immediately be reached.

Bellevue said it continued caring for five victims in total, with one in critical condition and another in serious condition. The hospital didn’t release their names or details of their injuries, but prosecutors have said victims suffered head injuries, a collapsed lung and a broken pelvis.

Alyssa Elsman

The impact killed Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old from Portage, Michigan, and injured her 13-year-old sister, Ava. A barricade at the site of the crash has become a makeshift memorial to Alyssa, adorned with flowers, photos and handwritten messages.

“This city’s outpouring is just unbelievable,” her father, Thomas Elsman, wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

The driver in the crash, Richard Rojas, 26, told police after his arrest that he had been smoking marijuana laced with the hallucinogenic drug PCP, according to a criminal complaint. He said he wanted to “kill them all” and police should have shot him to stop him, prosecutors said.

Charged with murder and attempted murder, Rojas hasn’t entered a plea. He told the New York Post in a jail interview Saturday that he had recently sought psychiatric help, and that the last thing he remembers Thursday is driving his car before waking up in a police precinct.

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