The woman arrested in connection with a crash that left one woman dead and sent dozens of pedestrians on the Strip to area hospitals Sunday night told police she was stressed and tired, an arrest record shows.
Lakeisha Holloway, 24, said security guards ran her off everywhere she stopped to get some sleep in her car with her 3-year-old daughter. She ended up on the Strip, “a place she did not want to be,” and would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk, according to the arrest record.
The Metropolitan Police Department is framing its investigation of the crash as an intentional act, but Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a Monday morning press conference that police still do not know the woman’s motives.
Just after 6:30 p.m. Sunday, a woman heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard drove a 1996 Oldsmobile four-door sedan onto the sidewalk in front of the escalators leading into the Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood Resort. The woman traveled down the sidewalk, said to have had more than 100 pedestrians on it, drove across a crosswalk at Paris Las Vegas and continued to drive on the sidewalk in front of the hotel-casino, Lombardo said.
The woman veered off the sidewalk near Bally’s and drove about a mile on a flat tire to the Tuscany on the corner of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane.
Witness reports said that Holloway’s vehicle, which is registered to another person in Portland, Ore., drove onto the sidewalk multiple times and had all four wheels on the sidewalk.
Holloway told police that she remembered a body bouncing off her windshield, breaking it. She told police she was not on drugs or alcohol, according to the arrest report. Blood samples were taken from Holloway, and police said that though she did not demonstrate signs of being under the influence of alcohol when she was arrested, she may have been on stimulants.
Jessica Valenzuela, 32, of Buckeye, Ariz., was killed in the crash. The Clark County coroner’s office did not determine the cause and manner of her death Monday morning. A crowdfunding campaign set up for Valenzuela described her as a wife and mother of three and had already raised more than $17,250 as of 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Thirty-five other people were injured, three of whom had critical head injuries, Lombardo said. The travelers came from Oregon, Colorado, Canada and Mexico, among other locales. Some of those injured were college athletes who had come to compete in the Wartburg Desert Duals wrestling tournament held annually in Las Vegas. Two of the teams, Pacific University of Oregon, and Delaware Valley University, pulled out of the competition Monday, as four Pacific team members were injured and five Delaware Valley athletes were reported injured.
Bystanders tried to stop her vehicle by banging on the window and trying to open the door in a “citizen arrest type situation,” Lombardo said. Bystanders also helped people who were injured and called the police to report the woman’s movements following the crash.
Holloway was taken into custody without incident at the Tuscany, where Lombardo said she left her daughter in the car and told a valet to call the police because she had hit several people on the Strip.
Police are having difficulty determining background information on Holloway, who police believe comes from Oregon. Police don’t believe the crash was an act of terrorism, but Lombardo said they can’t rule it out fully until they know more about Holloway. A national background check didn’t turn up any prior arrests for Holloway.
Court documents from Multnomah County, Ore., suggest Holloway was trying to change her name to Paris Paradise Morton in October. An Oregon Department of Transportation official told the Reuters news service that Holloway was driving on a suspended license.
Investigators determined that the woman has been in Las Vegas for about a week, living out of her car with her daughter. Lombardo said police suspect she had some kind of “disassociation” with the child’s father, who may be in Dallas.
The child, who wasn’t hurt in the crash, is in state custody at Child Haven. Officials are working to find her father, Lombardo said.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said his office is working to file charges against Holloway quickly. A charge of murder with a deadly weapon is expected to be filed by Tuesday, and Holloway is being held without bail. Wolfson said his office might also seek to file abuse and neglect and attempted murder charges.
At the press conference, Lombardo lauded the efforts of the first responders from the Clark County and Las Vegas fire departments and the more than 10 ambulances that transported victims to four area hospitals. He commended Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for making himself available to Metro on Sunday night.
Sandoval visited Southern Nevada on Monday, visiting with patients who were injured in the crash and getting a briefing from Las Vegas police.
“I am very appreciative of the fine work of Sheriff Lombardo, the entire Metropolitan Police Department and the Clark County Fire Department. I also want to recognize the calm professionalism of emergency room and medical personnel at hospitals throughout Las Vegas,” Sandoval said in a statement.
“We are all shocked and saddened by this tragedy, but we can be proud of how Nevadans responded when duty called. The state will provide any assistance requested by our colleagues in Southern Nevada. I ask that Nevadans say an extra prayer this week for the victims, their families and our emergency response personnel.”
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