Reuters – One person was killed and dozens injured on Sunday night when a woman deliberately drove her car onto a crowded sidewalk on the Las Vegas Strip, police said, near the hotel where the Miss Universe beauty pageant was being held.
The woman, who had a 3-year-old in the car with her, was taken into custody and was expected to be charged on Monday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials told reporters.
Justin Cochrane, a tourist who was having dinner on the Strip, told CNN the sedan with a cracked windshield barreled past him at about 30 miles per hour (48 km per hour). The driver swerved to avoid a truck, then accelerated back onto the sidewalk, he 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.”
Police said the driver, who is in her 20s, had mounted the curb as many as three times before fleeing the scene. CNN reported that she was being tested for drug and alcohol use.
Las Vegas Deputy Police Chief Brett Zimmerman gave no indications as to a motive but ruled out the possibility of terrorism.
The United States has been on edge since 14 people were killed in a Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, California, by two radicalized Muslims who opened fire at a holiday party.
Las Vegas authorities gave injury tallies ranging from 26 to 36 people, and said six who were in critical condition had been stabilized. The young child accompanying the driver was not hurt.
University Medical Center treated 15 patients, with three listed as critical, two discharged and the rest in serious condition, a spokeswoman said in an email.
An 11-year-old was among the injured, along with visitors from Montreal, Canada, she said.
A Reuters witness said emergency and police vehicles swarmed the area. Some passersby were using smartphones to snap photos of the scene while others seemed more focused on the glitzy sights of the famed Strip.
Authorities said the crash occurred around 6:40 p.m PST, when the Miss Universe pageant was nearing its finale at the nearby Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
The pageant was won by Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, 26, from the Philippines. Organizers initially mistakenly awarded first place to Colombian Ariadna Gutierrez Arévalo, 21, who then had to give the crown back.