Driver who deliberately plowed into people on Las Vegas Strip identified
– 35 injured, including five Canadians.
– 3 remain in critical condition, suffering from head injuries.
– Lakeisha Holloway to be charged with one count of murder with deadly weapon.
– No sign of alcohol, blood and drug tests pending.
– As of now, police don’t believe it’s an act of terrorism.
– Holloway told police she was unable to rest because she kept being run off casino properties.
– More charges pending.
A woman with her 3-year-old daughter in the car smashed into crowds of visitors on the Las Vegas Strip, then drove to a hotel and told a valet to call 911 after killing a woman from Arizona and injuring at least 35 others, including at least five Canadians, police said.
People jumped on the car and banged on its windows, but Lakeisha N. Holloway, 24, would not stop driving on the sidewalk, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters. Video appeared to show the crash in front of the Paris and Planet Hollywood casino-hotels was intentional, he said.
The 1996 Oldsmobile sedan was fully on the sidewalk twice Sunday night, including once when it traveled for 200 feet, police said. The child in the car was not hurt.
The 24-year-old told police told she was homeless and tired, and denied using drugs or alcohol. Holloway also told police she had been unable to rest or sleep because security officers kept running her and her daughter and her car off casino properties.
At least two of the injured Canadians, a man and a woman, were from Montreal, and were in need of French translators.
Anthony Hamel was celebrating a birthday with his family from Montreal when the car mounted the sidewalk.
“Why did this girl run over the sidewalk and injure a lot of people? You can’t really know the consequences unless you live it,” Hamel told KTNV News. “The pain. She won’t be able to feel the pain that she gave to a lot of people.
“Honestly I’m not the worst, there’s people there who had like big problems. I’m wondering if they’re good, what their life will be, just because of this,” the Quebec native said.
Hamel was taken to hospital and treated for a knee injury. His mother remains in hospital.
A hospital spokeswoman said two Canadians are among five people in either critical or serious condition. Danita Cohen of the University Medical Centre of Southern Nevada could not elaborate on the health of the two Canadians.
The crash happened on a busy stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard across from the dancing water fountains of the Bellagio hotel-casino where visitors crowd sidewalks as they head from one casino to another. The Miss Universe pageant was being held nearby at Planet Hollywood.
Holloway was believed to be from Oregon and had been in Las Vegas for about a week. He says investigators believe she was homeless and living in the car, police said on Monday.
Holloway drove a few blocks to a hotel, parked and asked a valet to call police, saying she had run over some people on the Strip, Lombardo said. She was stoic when she was arrested, he said.
Lombardo said police did not have a definitive motive but that they believe she had a falling out with the father of her child before the crash. A drug recognition expert on the scene determined Holloway was under the influence of a “stimulant,” but blood test results were pending.
She faces a charge of murder with a deadly weapon and is being held without bail, prosecutors say. District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he also is considering a slew of other charges.
The vehicle was in the northbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard near Bellagio Way when it drove up onto the sidewalk about 6:30 p.m. in front of the Paris Hotel & Casino and struck pedestrians, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Peter Boffelli said.
Police and emergency crews respond to the scene of a car accident along Las Vegas Boulevard, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Las Vegas.
Danita Cohen, spokeswoman for University Medical Center, said 11 of the crash victims, including at least five Canadians, were brought to its trauma centre. Cohen said a Canadian was among three victims listed in critical condition.
Cohen noted the crash victims were being treated for head injuries, cuts and broken bones.
Justin Cochrane, a property manager from Santa Barbara, California, said he was having dinner at a sidewalk restaurant outside the Paris Hotel and across the street from the famous Bellagio Fountain when the incident took place.
The car appeared to be going at least 30 mph (48 kph) when it first hit the pedestrians on Las Vegas Boulevard, Cochrane said. “It was just massacring people,” he said.
The vehicle then went farther down the road and drove back into another crowd of pedestrians on the sidewalk, he said.
Cochrane said he couldn’t understand why the car went into the crowd a second time. “Why would it slow to go around and then accelerate again?” he said. “I thought it’s a crazy person.”
Cochrane said he saw children and adults injured and on the ground as the car drove away.
Police were reviewing video from casino surveillance cameras to get details of what occurred. The pedestrians were not in the road and were not at fault, police said.
Joel Ortega, 31, of Redlands, California, said he and his wife, Carla, were visiting for the weekend and found themselves blocked from walking on the sidewalk toward the Paris hotel. They could see police investigating about a block away from the crash.
“At first, I thought it was a movie shoot,” he said. “I thought maybe we’d see someone famous.”
But then they learned that it was a crash scene. Ortega said it made them remember how their Redlands neighborhood was disrupted after the Dec. 2 mass shooting in nearby San Bernardino, California.
The crash comes months after another woman was accused of driving into a crowd during Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade. Four people were killed and more than 40 were hurt Oct. 24.
In September 2005, three tourists were killed and nearly a dozen injured when a car barreled through the crowd on the Las Vegas Strip and crashed into a cement barrier in front of Bally’s hotel-casino.
With files from The Canadian Press