One person was killed and dozens were injured Sunday night after a woman intentionally drove her car onto a packed sidewalk on the Las Vegas Strip close to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, according to police.
The woman, who had a 3-year-old in the car, was taken into custody and is expected to be charged Monday, officials from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told reporters. She is undergoing tests for alcohol and controlled substances.
Authorities have ruled out terrorism but said an initial investigation showed that the incident was indeed intentional. “This was not an act of terrorism,” said Brett Zimmerman, a deputy chief from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “We are treating this as an intentional act.”
Witnesses claimed the woman was driving down Las Vegas Boulevard before her car plowed onto the sidewalk and began to strike pedestrians, CNN reports. The driver, who is in her 20s, traveled onto the sidewalk three or four times, according to Zimmerman.
Justin Cochrane, a tourist who was eating at a restaurant on the Strip, told CNN that the sedan with a cracked windshield whooshed past him at 30 mph. The driver swerved only to avoid a truck and then made its way back onto the sidewalk, Cochrane said.
“It was mayhem, and it was very intentional,” he said. “People were flying. This child I saw, literally, hit, and the sound, I’ll never forget.”
Las Vegas authorities tallied injured people ranging from 26 to 36 people and said that six who were in critical condition had been stabilized. The child who was in the car with the driver remained unharmed.
University Medical Center treated 15 patients, according to Reuters, with three listed as critical. A spokeswoman wrote in an email that two were discharged and the rest were in serious condition. She added that an 11-year-old had been injured, along with visitors from Montreal, Canada.
A Reuters witness said that police and emergency vehicles quickly swarmed the scene and passersby were taking pictures with their smartphones.
Authorities said the crash happened at 6:40 p.m. PST, when the Miss Universe pageant was close to its finale at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino nearby.
Homicide division officials are reportedly looking into several surveillance videos from the Strip.