Formal charges filed against suspect in Las Vegas Strip crash - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Formal charges filed against suspect in Las Vegas Strip crash

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Lakeisha Holloway (Source: LVMPD) Lakeisha Holloway (Source: LVMPD)
Police say this is the car that was driven into crowds on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (Robert Noble/FOX5) Police say this is the car that was driven into crowds on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (Robert Noble/FOX5)
Emergency vehicles block a section of Las Vegas Strip after a crash Dec. 20, 2015. (Luis Marquez/FOX5) Emergency vehicles block a section of Las Vegas Strip after a crash Dec. 20, 2015. (Luis Marquez/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The woman accused of driving her car onto a crowded Las Vegas Strip sidewalk Sunday night, killing one person and injuring 34 others, was formally charged Tuesday in connection with the case.

The crash happened at 6:38 p.m. on Las Vegas Boulevard on a stretch of sidewalk between Planet Hollywood hotel-casino and Bally's hotel-casino.

In a briefing held Monday morning, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said that 24-year-old Lakeisha Holloway, of Oregon, drove her vehicle onto the east sidewalk on northbound Las Vegas Boulevard near the escalators at Planet Hollywood at Harmon Avenue. Her vehicle crossed the entrances to the Paris hotel-casino, before she exited the sidewalk near Bally’s hotel-casino at Flamingo Road.

"Some jumped on her car and ran up to the window and banged on it, trying to get her to stop," Lombardo said.

Lombardo said Holloway then drove to the Tuscany hotel-casino on Flamingo near Koval Lane, parked at the property and told a valet that she had hit several people on the Strip and that he should call 911. Officers arrived and found a stoic Holloway waiting for them.

A total of 35 people were injured in the crash, according to Lombardo. One person, identified by the Clark County Coroner’s Office as 32-year-old Jessica Valenzuela, of Buckeye, AZ, died from her injuries.

Lombardo said Holloway had been living out of her car in Las Vegas for about a week, using several parking garages along the Strip as shelter. He said investigators are having difficulty tracing her background, which is causing trouble in determining her motive and prevents him from definitively ruling out terrorism as a motive, although he does not believe it was. Police have also searched the vehicle, which bore Oregon license plates.

According to her arrest report, Holloway told detectives that she was stressed out because she kept getting run off by security guards at Strip properties, where she was trying to park her car and get some sleep. She said she eventually ended up on the Strip, “a place she did not want to be.” She wouldn’t explain why she drove onto the sidewalk, but said she remembered a body bouncing off her windshield and breaking it.

Holloway said she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to her arrest report.

Holloway's 3-year-old daughter was in the car at the time of the crash, according to the arrest report. Lombardo said the child was unharmed and has been placed in protective custody.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson announced Tuesday that Holloway had been officially charged with murder with use of a deadly weapon, child abuse, neglect or endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident. Her first court appearance was scheduled for Wednesday morning. When asked Monday, Wolfson said its too early to know whether he will seek the death penalty against her.

Lombardo said the victims were from Oregon, Colorado, Florida, California, Washington, Mexico and Quebec, Canada. Thirteen of the patients were treated at Sunrise Hospital, where four were listed in fair condition. Fifteen of the patients were treated at University Medical Center, where three were listed in critical condition and two were listed in serious condition.

Valenzuela's sister-in-law has set up a GoFundMe account to help with transportation and funeral costs.

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