"My heart died": Father of tourist killed in Times Square speaks out

- The father of a young tourist who was killed when a man drove into a crowd in New York City's Times Square is speaking about the anguish of losing his first born child as another of his children is still hospitalized with severe injuries.

"Numb.  There's no words.  I want to scream," Thomas Elsman said in an exclusive interview with Fox 5 News on Friday.  "My first born daughter is gone.  My heart died in New York yesterday."

Alyssa Elsman, 18, of Portage, Michigan, was visiting the city with her younger sister Ava when tragedy hit.  They had just landed hours before and had been in the Times Square area for just a matter of minutes, according to their father.

Alyssa and her 13-year-old sister where both on the sidewalk when the speeding car crashed into them and at least 20 others. One of Elsman's last social media posts was a video recorded about 10 minutes before the incident.

Ava Elsman underwent surgery on Friday.  She suffered a fractured pelvis, broken leg and a collapsed lung.  Her father says she knows about her older sister's death.

Elsman graduated from Portage Central High School in 2016. The school had counselors available to students on Friday.

Pedestrians chased and captured the driver as he tried to run away from the scene. 

"If it was an accident I would forgive," Thomas Elsman says.  "The fact that I found out he was on drugs, and then also today in court said 'I wanted to kill everyone' and he wanted to go suicide-by-cop, that's intent.  He knew what he was doing and I don't care what happens to him."

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent


FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):

Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories