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Report: Driver who mowed down crowds on Vegas Strip was stressed from living in car

Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo says 24-year-old Lakeisha Holloway "didn't appear to be distressed" after allegedly plowing into a crowd, killing one and injuring dozens. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). (Video: Reuters)

The homeless woman who plowed a car into pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip, killing at least one person and injuring dozens more, later told investigators that she was stressed out after security guards repeatedly ran her off their properties, where she’d been trying to sleep in her sedan, according to the Associated Press.

Lakeisha N. Holloway, identified as the driver responsible for the Sunday-night carnage outside the Paris and Planet Hollywood casino-hotels, had been in Las Vegas for several days with her 3-year-old daughter, officials said. The two had been sleeping in a 1996 Oldsmobile in parking lots and garages, the news service reported, citing a police report obtained Monday.

Holloway, a 24-year-old from Oregon, “described a stressful period [Sunday] where she was trying to rest/sleep inside her vehicle with her daughter but kept getting run off by security of the properties she stopped at,” the report said, according to the AP.

“She ended up on the Strip, ‘a place she did not want to be,'” the report said, according to the AP. “She would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk but remembered a body bouncing off her windshield, breaking it.”

After mowing down at least three dozen pedestrians, authorities say, Holloway drove to a nearby hotel and asked a valet to call emergency responders. More than 30 people were sent to hospitals after the Oldsmobile she was driving traveled onto a crowded sidewalk, officials said.

The 3-year-old child in the car with Holloway survived without injury.

The gory incident was captured on camera, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters, adding that “the videos obviously show intention.”

“The suspect, Lakeisha Holloway, repeatedly drove her car over pedestrians,” Lombardo said. “Some jumped on her car and ran up to the window and banged on it, trying to get her to stop, but she didn’t.”

Holloway is expected to be charged with murder with a deadly weapon among other charges, prosecutors said Monday.

“We are going to start off by filing one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told reporters. “We will also be filing additional charges as the information flows to our office.”

Holloway was driving on a suspended license, Reuters reported.

“Her license was suspended by the Oregon DMV in 2012 and was also suspended by Multnomah County in 2013 and has not been reinstated,” Sally Ridenour, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, told the news service.

Justin Cochrane of Santa Barbara, Calif., told the Las Vegas Sun that he saw the Oldsmobile “taking people out” as it hurtled on the sidewalk near Paris Las Vegas.

“It was just hysteria,” Cochrane told the newspaper. “I’m shaken still.”

According to the Associated Press:

Lombardo said police did not have a definitive motive but that they believe she had a falling out with the father of her child before the crash. A drug recognition expert on the scene determined Holloway was under the influence of a “stimulant,” but blood test results were pending.

After plowing into the pedestrians, Lombardo said, Holloway drove to a nearby hotel, parked and asked a valet to call police, saying she had run over some people on the Strip, the Associated Press reported. She was “stoic” when she was arrested, the sheriff said.

The carnage came less than three weeks after a married couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, a shooting rampage that the FBI declared an act of terrorism.

Terrorism was ruled out as a motive in the Vegas Strip incident, Las Vegas Police Capt. Brett Zimmerman said at a news conference.

But Jesse Roybal, a public information officer for the police department, said investigators determined that the crash was intentional from surveillance footage and witness statements; he could not comment on the driver’s possible motive. He also declined to say whether she passed the sobriety test, in light of the ongoing investigation.

According to Lt. Dan McGrath, of the Las Vegas Police Department, Holloway was not from Las Vegas but had been in the city for about a week. It is not clear what brought her to the Strip on Sunday night.

Victims in critical condition were being treated at University Medical Center and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, the Associated Press reported.

A spokeswoman for Sunrise told the AP that its 11 adult patients were in good condition. Another 11 patients were taken to UMC, a spokesman said. Their conditions were not immediately available.

The Clark County Fire Department said in a statement that up to 50 people were treated by 70 emergency crew workers.

Antonio Nassar saw the crash on his way out of Planet Hollywood, he told the Las Vegas Sun.

“It was chaotic,” he said. “I was running down the street saying, ‘Move! Move! Get out of the way!'”

As the car struck pedestrians, Nassar said, “it just sounded like watermelons falling on the sidewalk.”

He told KVVU that people pounded on the car’s windows as the woman drove by, attempting to get her to stop.

The swath of Las Vegas Boulevard between Harmon and Flamingo Road was shut down, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ambulances and police vehicles swarmed the scene, adding their blue and red lights to the glitter of the Strip.

“This is a huge tragedy that has happened on our Strip,” Metro Police Capt. Peter Boffelli said, according to the Sun.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement that “the state stands ready to help and will provide any assistance needed to ensure the safety of our visitors and residents.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman also tweeted her sympathies.

This post has been updated.