TIMES SQUARE — The family of a New Jersey teen critically injured in last week’s Seventh Avenue rampage shared a devastating photo of her in a hospital bed — and is now asking for help in footing her medical bills.
Jessica Williams, 19, skipped class at Dunellen High School to head into the city for senior skip day last Thursday, her cousin Nicole Guild wrote in a Gofundme post.
But a morning of fun turned tragic when drugged-up Navy veteran Richard Rojas, 26, plowed his Honda Accord into a crowd near West 42nd Street, killing 18-year-old tourist Alyssa Elsman and injuring 21 others, including Williams, according to police.
“She is currently in critical condition with many surgeries and a long road to recovery ahead of her,” Guild wrote of her cousin. "Her spleen was removed yesterday and the damage to her face was stitched up today. Her leg is still broken and will require surgery at a later time. She is still in traction due to the open fracture pelvis and that will also need to be addressed more at a later time."
The Gofundme campaign had raised more than $24,000 as of Tuesday morning.
“High school prom and graduation for Dunellen are just weeks away and the excitement of all of that has been ripped away from her as she is now fighting for her life.” Guild wrote. “I am trying to help my family out in any way I can and I am asking for donations to help her single income family afford all the upcoming medical expenses.”
Rojas has been charged with murder, attempted murder and vehicular manslaughter.
Police and prosecutors have said he was on a premeditated mission to kill, then be killed by police, telling the first officers on scene that they should’ve shot him to stop him.
The family of another critically injured victim, Canadian tourist Elena Avetisian, has also launched a Gofundme campaign.
“She was visiting NY to attend my wedding and the day before decided to visit Times Square, little did she know this trip would alter her life forever,” Anna Avetisian wrote of her cousin, a mother of three. “She is currently in critical condition (coma) and we don't know when she will make a full recovery.”
Meanwhile, the father of Alyssa Elsman, whose 13-year-old sister was also seriously injured in the attack, penned a heart-breaking thank you note to the city at the scene where his daughter died.
“There is no words that can express our gratitude with the outpouring of love and support this city has shown us,” he wrote. “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.”