'She was the most amazing person,' best friend remembers Portage teen killed in Times Square crash

Friends react to NYC crash death

PORTAGE, MICH. - A West Michigan community is devastated after one of their own was hit and killed by a driver, that plowed into a Times Square crowd on Thursday.

23 people were hurt in the crash, including Portage native, Alyssa Elsman who died from her injuries.

"I can't believe that, how do you believe that?" Elsman's best friend, Olivia Lemke, said. "I mean she just got to New York, that's her happy place."

Neighbors for years and friends for longer, Olivia Lemke, remembers the last words she said to her best friend Thursday morning.

"I told her to have fun and take lots of pictures and she said 'I will, I love you' and I got Snapchats from her when she was in New York."

Elsman was in New York with her family. Her sister, Ava, was also injured in the crash. Lemke tells WZZM 13, last she heard, Ava was in surgery.

Elsman was a 2016 graduate of Portage Central High School.

"She was friendly and engaging and she was funny, we're going to miss her a lot," PCHS Principal, Eric Alburtus, said.

This is not the first loss this year for the school. In March, senior Dante Latora was killed in a car crash.

"I've served at Portage Central High School for a long time now and we have lost absolutely incredible young men and young women and it never gets easier we always feel the loss," Alburtus, said.

A loss, they'll help kids cope with Friday, as they provide counselors on staff for anyone who needs it. While they come to terms with a horrific incident that took a young woman, far too soon.

"She was just the most amazing person, she didn't have a mean bone in her body," Lemke said, "She loved everyone and everything."

Alyssa's sister, Ava is a middle school student in the Portage School Distrct. Still no official word on how she is doing.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover funeral and medical costs for the Elsman family. To donate, click here.

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© 2017 WZZM-TV


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