Woman intentionally driving on Las Vegas Strip sidewalk mows down dozens, police say

Woman intentionally driving on Las Vegas Strip sidewalk mows down dozens, police say. (KSNV/Kelsey Thomas)

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) - Police say a woman intentionally plowed her car into dozens of pedestrians while driving on a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk Sunday evening, killing one person and injuring 36 others.

Six victims were listed in critical condition, but have since been upgraded to stable.

The crash occurred about 6:40 p.m. in front of the Paris Hotel & Casino and Planet Hollywood, and police say the crash was an intentional act by the driver.

"At this point we are treating this as an intentional act" said Capt. Dan McGrath of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police homicide. "She is in the detention center right now. She is speaking to detectives. They are drawing her blood, and I expect her to be charged in the next few hours."

One witness, Los Angeles resident Michal Jackson, said the car was initially driving slowly on the sidewalk, and someone tried to get it to stop. Jackson said the car sped up when it reached a group of people.

"It accelerated, and it just plowed through the group of people, and we were in shock," said Jackson. "Then it kind of hopped off the curb, and there was a lady that was stuck under the car, and when it hopped back on the curb, she was laying between the curb and the street, and she wasn't moving at all."

Police confirmed the driver, described as a woman in her 20s, drove off the sidewalk after hitting the victims, then drove back onto the sidewalk and hit more pedestrians. It is possible the woman drove off and back on the sidewalk a third time, police said.

Jackson described what she witnessed when the car jumped back onto the sidewalk.

"There was another guy who was right next to her passenger window, banging on the door to get it to stop, and then the car accelerated again, and that guy flew off the car," said Jackson. "Then it made a right onto Flamingo Road, and that was the last we saw of the car."

The woman driving the offending vehicle drove away from the scene, but turned herself in to security at the Tuscany Suites & Casino. Police say the driver had a 3-year-old child with her who was not injured. The car had Oregon license plates.

Deputy Chief Brett Zimmerman says security footage will help police piece together exactly what happened leading up to the collision.

"Due to the area we're in--with numerous cameras belonging to the hotel, surveillance cameras, and our RTC cameras--we will comb through that footage to get a detailed idea of what occurred," said Zimmerman.

Police performed a field sobriety test on the suspect. It is unclear whether she passed.

This is not the first time pedestrians have been hit and killed on the Las Vegas Strip. In September 2005, 14 were hit and three killed when a car driven by Stephen Ressa drove onto a crowded sidewalk. He was given multiple life sentences.

A report from Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center said 11 victims had been transported there, all in good condition.

Fifteen victims were transported to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC). At UMC, one victim was pronounced dead and three were in critical condition. The other 11--including an 11-year-old boy--were listed in serious condition.

Three victims were sent to Spring Valley Hospital. Four were treated at the scene and released.

Las Vegas Metro Police currently have Las Vegas Boulevard closed between Harmon Avenue and Flamingo Road. Sheriff Joseph Lombardo was expected to give more information about the incident Monday.

Governor Brian Sandoval released the following statement on the crash at the Las Vegas Strip:

I have spoken with Sheriff Joe Lombardo and will remain in contact with him as this incident continues to evolve and additional information is released. The state stands ready to help and will provide any assistance needed to ensure the safety of our visitors and residents," said Governor Brian Sandoval. "Kathleen and I extend our deepest sympathies to all who are affected by this shocking and tragic event. Additionally, I would like to thank the first responders and the medical professionals who are caring for the victims this evening.


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