Mother accepts high school diploma for girl still hospitalized after Times Square rampage

Josh Einiger Image
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Mother accepts diploma for girl still hospitalized after Times Square rampage
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Josh Einiger spoke to the victim's mother in Dunellen.

DUNELLEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two New Jersey high school students who were struck by a driver in Times Square have graduated even though one of them remains hospitalized.

The Dunellen High Class of 2017 walked as one at graduation on Wednesday.

They are a tight-knit grade of just more than 70 kids. One of them, Jessica Williams was there in spirit.

Elaine Williams joined them wearing her daughter's cap and receiving her daughter's diploma.

Her body is too broken to appear in person.

"Very proud mom. I wish she could have been here," Elaine said. "I wore the cap, she's wearing the gown, so it's all good."

Jessica was among the pedestrians in Times Square last month, when police say a deranged driver jumped the curb and mowed people down like they were bowling pins. An 18-year-old old woman from Michigan was killed.

Police say Richard Rojas, 26, had been discharged from the Navy and was high on PCP when he made that fateful U-turn off Seventh Avenue on May 18th.

Jessica was with her friend and classmate Destiny Lightfoot, wheelchair-bound at graduation, who got a standing ovation as she picked up her diploma.

"They really pulled together... it's amazing," the principal said.

Jessica was watching a live stream from her hospital room and the entire graduation paused to wave.

"Absolutely she's probably screaming in the rehab right now," Elaine said. "She's all good. It's all good."

Doctors at Bellevue performed groundbreaking surgery that saved Jessica's life and now she's in a rehab facility recovering.

She's now a proud high school graduate, with a limitless future.