LAS VEGAS – A woman intentionally swerved her car onto a busy sidewalk two or three times and mowed down people outside a Las Vegas casino, killing one person and injuring at least 30 others, police said, including several Canadians.
The crash Sunday evening in front of the Paris and Planet Hollywood hotels occurred on a busy stretch of the Las Vegas Strip across from the dancing water fountains of the Bellagio hotel-casino where visitors crowd sidewalks as they was walk from one casino to another. The Miss Universe pageant was being held nearby at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino at the time of the crash.
Police believe this was an intentional act by a woman in her 20s who “went up and off these streets, two or possibly three times,” Lt. Dan McGrath said. A 3-year-old child was in the vehicle with her but was not hurt, said Capt. Brett Zimmerman.
Police did not give a possible motive.
The woman is being interviewed and is having her blood drawn, police said. She is being held in jail with charges pending.
The vehicle was in the northbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard near Bellagio Way when it drove up onto the sidewalk about 6:30 p.m. in front of the Paris Hotel & Casino and struck pedestrians, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Peter Boffelli said. The person killed was an adult, he said.
Danita Cohen, spokeswoman for University Medical Center, said 11 of the crash victims, including at least five Canadians, were brought to its trauma centre. Cohen said a Canadian was among three victims listed in critical condition.
At least two of the injured Canadians, a man and a woman, were from Montreal, and were in need of French translators, she said.
Cohen noted the crash victims were being treated for head injuries, cuts and broken bones.
Police are reviewing video from casino-hotel surveillance cameras, Zimmerman said. “We know this was not an act of terrorism,” he said. “We will comb through that footage to get a detailed idea of what occurred.”
After the crash, the vehicle continued to head east on Flamingo Road before it was found at a hotel, McGrath said. The driver was taken into custody at the hotel, police said.
McGrath said the 1996 Oldsmobile was registered in Oregon and the driver had recently moved to the area.
The pedestrians were not in the road and were not at fault, McGrath said.
Justin Cochrane, a property manager from Santa Barbara, California, said he was having dinner at a sidewalk restaurant outside the Paris Hotel and across the street from the famous Bellagio Fountain when the incident took place.
The car appeared to be going at least 30 mph (48 kph) when it first hit the pedestrians on Las Vegas Boulevard, Cochrane said. “It was just massacring people,” he said.
The vehicle then went farther down the road and drove back into another crowd of pedestrians on the sidewalk, he said.
Cochrane said he couldn’t understand why the car went into the crowd a second time. “Why would it slow to go around and then accelerate again?” he said. “I thought it’s a crazy person.”
Cochrane said he saw children and adults injured and on the ground as the car drove away.
Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said the call for help came in at 6:38 p.m. and 70 emergency crew workers were sent to the scene.
Danita Cohen, spokeswoman for University Medical Center, said 15 crash of the victims were brought to its trauma centre, one of whom died. Three remained in critical condition as of 11 p.m. Two others were treated and released.
The nine patients who remained in serious condition included an 11-year-old child. The others were adults.
With files from The Canadian Press