A 24-year-old woman identified as Lakeisha Halloway stands accused of deliberately driving her car into a group of pedestrians along the Las Vegas strip several times, killing one person and injuring 35 others. The mother says she and her toddler has been living in her car and the tragic incident was brought on by stress from security guards constantly chasing her from the parking lots where she had been trying to get some sleep.
Police reports have indicated that Halloway will be facing a myriad of charges that District Attorney Steven Wolfson says may lead to his office seeking the death penalty against her. For the events on Sunday evening the District Attorney says that Lakeisha Halloway is facing charges of murder with a deadly weapon among other related charges.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s press conference on Monday pointed to the fact that videos of the car crash showed that the suspect’s actions showed clear intent. Lombardo announced the official count of victims and stated that three of the 35 persons injured still remain in critical condition. The woman who died has been identified by the Clark County Coroner’s Office as a 32-year-old Buckeye, Arizona, woman Jessica Valenzuela.
Halloway has reportedly been living in her 1996 Oldsmobile sedan since arriving in Las Vegas about a week ago from Oregon. She was allegedly parking at garages throughout the city. Investigators believe that Halloway had been on her way to Dallas to find the father of her three-year-old daughter after they had had a falling out. She ran out of money in Las Vegas, and that is when the two began living out of the car.
USA Today wrote that Sheriff Lombardo spoke to Halloway after her arrest, and she revealed the details of the day that had stressed her out so much and that being on the famed Las Vegas strip was not where she wanted to be.
“[She] described a stressful period today 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. She would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk but remembered a body bouncing off her windshield, breaking it.”
As the 2015 Miss Universe pageant was ongoing in all its awkward glory at the Planet Hollywood resort, the tragedy unfolded just a few steps away. Nearby businesses and bystanders caught video footage of Halloway driving at full speed towards the sidewalk full of people, at least two times, mowing down the increasingly panicked pedestrians. The sheriff confirmed that some pedestrians tried to get the woman to stop her rampage by jumping onto the vehicle and pounding at it as well as trying to open the car doors, all in a futile attempt to make her stop.
After the tragic deed, Lakeisha Halloway dimply drove around the corner from the scene of the crime and turned herself over to a valet, confessing her misdeeds. Her three-year -old child had been in the backseat of the car when she committed murder. The child has since been placed with child services, the toddler was reportedly unharmed.
Reuters coverage of the tragic incident further revealed that Halloway should not have been behind the wheel of any vehicle at all. Her licence had been suspended back in 2012 by the Oregon DMV and again in 2013 by Portland’s Multnomah County and was never reinstated after that.
While law enforcement revealed she was not drunk at the time of the tragic incident, she may have been under a stimulant of some kind, and blood tests are pending. Holloway is being held at the Clark County jail and was placed under an around-the-clock suicide watch on Monday.
The authorities have made it very clear that this violent and senseless act was not one of terrorism.
[Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department]