Crimes using cars as weapons seem commonplace

People using cars as weapons of mass destruction seems to be somewhat commonplace in recent days. And I’m just talking about August.

On Aug. 3, a Saturday evening on the Venice, Calif., boardwalk, a car plowed into six people, killing an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injuring others. Colorado transient Nathan Campbell, 38, is charged with murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run, though he later turned himself in. Observers said he seemed to be deliberately aiming for people with a Dodge Avenger.

Closer to home in North Las Vegas on Aug. 8, eight people leaving church services were injured when a Mitsubishi Galant struck them. The driver emerged from the car, looked at what she had done, then fled.

Nayakueth Tear, 18, was arrested and charged with eight counts of felony hit-and-run, eight counts of gross misdemeanor failure to render aid to injured persons, and one count of obstructing a police officer by giving false information. The injured were between the ages of 15 and 57 and included one pregnant woman.

Alcohol or drugs may have contributed, which doesn’t give Tear a pass in my book but raises questions about whether it was deliberate. On Monday, two women with two children were in a crosswalk when a Ford Escort struck and injured the two women, but not the two children. The driver and passenger stopped. The investigation continues, but no one has been charged, and there was no indication alcohol was involved, so this seems like a case of driver carelessness rather than a deliberate act.

The actions in Venice and North Las Vegas reminded me of one of the worst female mass murderers in the country: Priscilla Ford, who on Thanksgiving Day in 1980, about 3 in the afternoon, drove her 1974 Lincoln Continental down Virginia Street in Reno, killing five people immediately and injuring 24.

Two more people died later.

The former schoolteacher was 51 and a schizophrenic. She heard voices. She said she was the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

At times she was deemed incompetent to stand trial, at other times she was deemed competent. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

When the jury received the case after nearly five months, it took 13 hours to find her guilty of murdering six people and attempting to murder 23. Ford was sentenced to the death penalty.

Of course, she didn’t die by lethal injection. Smoking killed her.

She died in 2005 of emphysema at age 75 at the women’s prison in North Las Vegas, still appealing her death sentence.

In the cases in which the actions are deliberate, as with Ford and possibly the driver in Venice, the question is always: Why?

It’s too soon to know Campbell’s thoughts, but because of the trial in Reno, covered extensively by two Reno newspapers, Ford provided some answers by insisting on taking the stand.

She told a psychiatrist her 11-year-old daughter had been stolen by child welfare officials in Reno and she slaughtered strangers because she needed help finding her daughter. Later it was shown she knew where her daughter was, so that motive didn’t explain her actions. For a time, she blamed the car, saying it malfunctioned. But no believable reason was ever finally determined.

During her five days on the stand, she said she was divine, the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and Adam.

Without a doubt, she was mentally ill. No one accused her of faking it. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t a mass murderer, she was that, too.

Jurors took 13 hours to find her guilty. They took five days to decide she deserved the death penalty instead of life without parole.

We want there to be a reason in cases like Ford’s. We don’t want it to be random and senseless.

But whether there’s a motive or not, we’re all potential victims of any mass murderer who decides to use a vehicle to kill strangers. That makes all of us vulnerable, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Unlike terrorism, it’s nothing we can prevent.

One California politician suggested that blockades on the Venice boardwalk were necessary.

But we can’t blockade our world from random acts of violence.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at or call her at (702) 383-0275.

Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigating the new I-515 southbound to 215 Beltway ramp configuration
After opening at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, the new Interstate 515 southbound to the 215 Beltway westbound freeway ramp configuration caused confusion amongst motorist. Here’s how to navigate the new ramp. (Mick Akers/ Las Vegas Review-Journal).
A record breaking donation of nearly $9 million to Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada
A record breaking donation of property valued at nearly $9 million was made to the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada by the Charles and Phyllis M. Frias Charitable Trust. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal. @bizutesfaye
Kerry Clasby thanks the community for support after California fire damage
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about the lessons of accepting help as she has gone through the Woolsey Fire disaster, in which she lost many of her belongings. About 100 people were on hand for an event that raised about $7,000.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like