- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 20, 2015

A car drove onto the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night near the Miss Universe pageant, causing dozens of injuries and one death in a rampage that authorities said was intentional and will lead to murder charges against the driver.

Las Vegas police said Monday that the driver was 24-year-old Lakeisha N. Holloway, apparently a homeless woman whom the Associated Press reported was searching for the estranged father of her 3-year-old girl. The toddler was in the car during the rampage, but unhurt herself.

At a news conference late Sunday night, Las Vegas police and fire officials said one person was killed and that hospitals had received 37 patients. By Monday afternoon, three people were still in critical condition with head injuries.

Ms. Holloway was being held without bail and under suicide watch, Las Vegas authorities said Monday.

The Clark County coroner identified the dead victim Monday as Jessica Valenzuela, a 32-year-old Arizona woman who was visiting Las Vegas along with her husband.

Based on video of the incident, police said the driver intentionally drove over people. It was not a case, they said, of someone losing control of the car — whether from intoxication or something innocent such as a heart attack or blackout — and the machine then taking a random course.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the charges will include murder with a deadly weapon.

“When a person drives a 2,000-pound-plus motor vehicle intentionally onto a sidewalk, killing and injuring scores of people, that’s murder,” he told reporters.

The driver took the vehicle, a gray 1996 Oldsmobile sedan, to the nearby Tuscany Hotel after the crash before being arrested, Las Vegas TV station KSNV reported. Officials said Monday that Ms. Holloway surrendered to authorities there calmly.

“She didn’t appear to be distressed due to her actions. That’s the best way I can describe it,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

According to the Associated Press, Ms. Holloway and her daughter had been living in the car for the past couple of weeks and finally ran out of money Sunday night.

The accident took place on South Las Vegas Boulevard, the famed “Strip,” near the Paris Hotel and Planet Hollywood, where the Miss Universe pageant was being held. Police closed off the area in the midst of one of the world’s foremost entertainment venues.

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