Sheriff: Suspect says she was in Vegas 1 week

Posted at 11:43 AM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 20:03:55-05

A 24-year-old woman who, authorities say, intentionally drove on and off the sidewalk of the famous Las Vegas Strip killing one person, will face an attempted murder charge, among others.

Officials identified the woman as 24-year-old Lakeisha Holloway. She told deputies that she is from Oregon, but had been in the Vegas area for about a week and was living out of her car.

She is expected to be officially charged with attempted murder with a deadly weapon, child abuse and leaving the scene, a felony, this week, officials said during a Monday press conference.

A woman from Buckeye, Ariz.--32-year-old Jessica Valenzuela--was killed. She was in town with her husband. At least 30 people were injured, 3 of whom are listed in critical condition.

The motive for the crash remains under investigation.

Sheriff Lombardo said Holloway's 3-year-old child was in the car at the time of the crash. The child is under state custody and is "fine," he said.

The child's father may live in Texas and Lombardo said officials are looking into whether Holloway may have been trying to make her way there via Las Vegas.

Of the victims, five were Canadian citizens and four were Oregon college students in town to compete in a wrestling tournament.

Justin Cochrane, a visitor from Santa Barbara, California, said he was having dinner at a sidewalk restaurant outside the Paris hotel when he saw the car smashing into pedestrians.

"It was just massacring people," he said, adding that the car appeared to be going 30 to 40 mph.

The Oldsmobile 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 on the ground as the car drove away.

The pedestrians were not in the road and were not at fault, police said.

Joel Ortega, 31, of Redlands, California, said he and his wife, Carla, were visiting for the weekend and found themselves blocked from walking on the sidewalk toward the Paris hotel. They could see police investigating about a block away from the crash.

"At first, I thought it was a movie shoot," he said. "I thought maybe we'd see someone famous."

But then they learned that it was a crash scene. Ortega said it made them remember how their Redlands neighborhood was disrupted after the Dec. 2 mass shooting in nearby San Bernardino, California.

The crash comes months after another woman was accused of driving into a crowd during Oklahoma State's homecoming parade. Four people were killed and more than 40 were hurt Oct. 24.

In September 2005, three tourists were killed and nearly a dozen injured when a car barreled through the crowd on the Las Vegas Strip and crashed into a cement barrier in front of Bally's hotel-casino.