Las Vegas Strip sidewalk: Driver hits dozens of pedestrians in 'intentional' act

Story highlights

  • Lakeisha N. Holloway, 24, faces a charge of murder with a deadly weapon
  • At least one person was killed and 37 others injured
  • A witness describes a chaotic scene as people fled

(CNN)Authorities haven't said anything yet about what might have motivated a woman to drive her car onto a busy sidewalk along the Las Vegas Strip, but new details emerged Monday about what she told investigators she did before and after the crash.

Lakeisha N. Holloway, 24, is accused of killing one person and injuring more than three dozen when she struck pedestrians on the sidewalk.
    She faces three charges, including murder with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of an accident, and child abuse or neglect, according to a statement from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and additional charges are likely.
    Lakeisha N. Holloway
    According to her arrest report, Holloway told authorities that before the crash, she had been trying to rest or sleep in her car with her daughter, but that she kept getting run off by security at the properties where she stopped.
    She wound up on the Strip, "a place she did not want to be," read the report. Police said she told them she wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    Witnesses said Holloway was driving down Las Vegas Boulevard before her car jumped onto the sidewalk and started striking pedestrians.
    She allegedly drove the 1996 Oldsmobile sedan with Oregon plates onto the sidewalk at different spots and hit more people before barreling down the road.
    Holloway then left the scene and drove approximately 1 mile before driving onto the property of another hotel and contacting a security officer, asking that officer to call the police because she'd just hit several people, according to the arrest report.
    "She would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk but remembered a body bouncing off of her windshield, breaking it," it read.

    'Not an act of terrorism'

    Police arrived and arrested Holloway. Her 3-year-old daughter, who had been in the car with her, was unharmed.
    Authorities ruled out terrorism but said an initial investigation showed the driver acted deliberately.
    "This was not an act of terrorism," said Brett Zimmerman, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department deputy chief. "We are treating this as an intentional act."
    Holloway went onto the sidewalk at least three or four times, according to Zimmerman.
    Homicide division officials are looking at numerous surveillance videos from the Strip.
    The person killed in the crash was identified Monday by the Clark County Coroner's Office as Jessica Valenzuela, 32, of Buckeye, Arizona. Authorities have said 37 other people were injured.

    She 'just kept mowing people down'

    Antonio Nassar said people scrambled to stop the woman as she drove on the sidewalk.
    "The car rolled right in front of me. By the time I looked over to the right, all you could see was (her) driving away, and people were bouncing off the front of the car," Nassar told CNN affiliate KLAS.
    "She rode the sidewalk, she came to a stop at the Paris intersection, people are punching into the window. ... She accelerated again and just kept mowing people down."
    Another witness, Sofie Kitteroed, told CNN's "New Day" that bystanders rushed to the scene to help bleeding victims.
    Emergency vehicles were trying to cut through traffic to get there, she said. Convoys of ambulances and police cars gathered at various spots, their lights flashing.
    Justin Cochrane said he was having dinner at a patio restaurant when he suddenly saw the car.
    It slowed down, turned toward the sidewalk and accelerated, he said.
    The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department urged witnesses to flag down officers at the scene and give them a statement.
    A portion of Las Vegas Boulevard was closed after the incident and was reopened Monday morning, the Police Department said.
    One of the hospitals that treated the injured, University Medical Center, said that of the 15 patients who arrived, one died, two were discharged, three are in critical condition and nine are in serious condition. Of the patients at this hospital, five are Canadians, University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen said.
    Pacific University, in Oregon, said Monday that four of its students were among the injured.
    The four are members of the Pacific University wrestling team who were in Las Vegas for a tournament, university media relations director Joe Lang said. The injuries to the students were not life-threatening, he said.