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Vegas Strip Crash: Not Terrorism, But Why Did Woman Plow Through Tourists With Child In Car?

  • by: Alan Duke
  • (Mon, 21 Dec 2015 21:02:49 Z)

Investigators don't know why Lakeisha Holloway drove into a crowd of tourist on a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk Sunday night, but they do not think she is a terrorist.

"I do not believe it to be an act of terrorism," Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday. Because police are "having difficultly obtain background" on the 24-year-old Oregon woman, "we are not 100% ruling out the possibility of terrorism."

Holloway's three-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat of the 1996 Oldsmobile when it veered off Las Vegas Boulevard and onto the crowded sidewalk near Planet Hollywood Casino, where just minutes earlier the Miss Universe pageant had ended.

Security camera video and witness accounts suggest Holloway intentionally ran over pedestrians. "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," Sheriff Lombardo said.

After driving the Oldsmobile onto the sidewalk near the Paris hotel, Holloway drove several blocks away to the Tuscany hotel where she left the car parked, with the child inside, and told the valet to call police.

One person died soon after the incident. Three others are critically hurt with head injuries and another 23 people were treated at hospitals. The victims include people from Canada, Mexico, Orgeon, Colorado and California.

Holloway now faces one murder count, but "a great number of charges to be filed" including "multitude of counts of attempted murder" and chid abuse and neglect, the district attorney said.

A witness told Lead Stories he saw the woman veer onto the sidewalk and strike a group of pedestrians, then swerved back onto the road and sped up before driving back onto the sidewalk and crashing through more people walking.

Another witness said he saw injured people were strewn across a 100-yard stretch of sidewalk between Planet Hollywood and Paris casinos. The crash scene is directly across from the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.

Rabia Qureshi, a tourist from Nina, Wisconsin, was walking nearby when she saw the car jump onto the sidewalk. Her first reaction was disbelief because it seemed like an action sequence from a movie, she told Lead Stories. "It took me a full five or 10 seconds to realize that it really happened, for minute you think that its some kind of show because you're in Vegas How can a car be driving on the sidewalk."

It was a shocking scene, she said. "I saw people from above the car level flying off and falling on the sides."

Her husband Atif Qureshi is a doctor. He said he immediately went into "doctor mode" and rushed to he sidewalk to start treating the injured.

The massive crash happened at 6:30pPT just as participants and audience members of the Miss Universe pageant were leaving Planet Hollywood's Axis Theatre.

About the author:

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

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