Elena Avetisian had been planning her trip to New York City for months. It was rare that she brought all three of her daughters from Montreal to the city while visiting family.
But what was meant to be a fun reunion for her cousin’s May wedding turned into a nightmare.
After sightseeing in Manhattan, Avetisian and her family stopped to have lunch near Times Square. Avetisian decided to step away to get her youngest daughter a stroller.
That’s when a motorist drove his car into the crowds of pedestrians for three blocks in Times Square, killing one and injuring 22 others. Avetisian was one of them.
Officers from the New York Police Department arrested the driver at the scene. Richard Rojas, 26, was charged last week with murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.
‘She never came back’
Anna Avetisian said her cousin Elena left the family at lunch, but never returned.
“It was really chaotic in the area,” she said. “But [Elena] never came back.”
The family decided to head to Anna’s home and call every hospital in the area, but they received no answers. They found what happened to Avetisian around 6:30 p.m.
“I got a call from a detective, an NYPD detective, and he told me she was at Bellevue trauma centre and she was listed as a trauma victim,” said Anna.
Avetisian is in critical condition, with a broken pelvis and significant head trauma. She remains in a medically induced coma.
While her husband immediately flew to New York City to be by her side, her three children are being cared for by their grandmother in Montreal.
Outpouring of support
Anna said she set up a crowdfunding page to help cover mounting medical and travel costs while Avetisian is in hospital.
“She’ll probably be in New York for the next couple months and this is really going to help,” Anna said.