The driver who allegedly injured 37 people and killed one person while driving her car along a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk has been identified.
Lakeisha Holloway, 24, of Oregon, told authorities it was the stress of finding a place to sleep that caused her to plow into dozens of pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip sidewalk on Dec. 20, the Daily Mail reported.
According to a police report, Holloway was homeless and was living in her 1996 Oldsmobile sedan. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said she had been parking in garages throughout the city to sleep.
Holloway said she was stressed out after being chased out of parking lots by security guards. She said the stress caused her to drive her sedan into two different sections of the sidewalk on Las Vegas Boulevard, injuring 37 people and killing one, reports Daily Mail.
The victim was identified as 32-year-old Jessica Valenzuela. Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said the Phoenix woman was visiting Las Vegas with her husband. The couple had just celebrated their 10 year anniversary in December.
A GoFundMe page was set up by Valenzuela’s sister-in-law to help with funeral expenses. The campaign has raised more than $28,000 by Dec. 22. The page also reveals that Valenzuela was a mother of three girls.
Authorities said details about Holloway’s past were difficult to piece together. Holloway changed her name to Paris Paradise Morton in October, according to Oregon court records.
Holloway told police she had been in Las Vegas for about a week. Police believe she was passing through Las Vegas to find her 3-year-old daughter’s estranged father in Texas. The child was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident, but was unharmed.
It was later revealed that Holloway’s license was suspended.
“Her license was suspended by the Oregon DMV in 2012 and was also suspended by [Portland's] Multnomah County in 2013 and has not been reinstated,” said Sally Ridenour, Oregon Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said during a press conference on Dec. 21 that Holloway’s initial charges include murder with use of a deadly weapon, multiple counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, child abuse or neglect and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.
“When a person drives a 2,000-pound-plus motor vehicle intentionally onto a sidewalk, killing and injuring scores of people, that's murder,” Wolfson said.
Holloway is being held without bail at Clark County Jail. Police said she did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, but have not ruled out drugs. Blood tests are pending.
LaShay Hardaway, Holloway’s cousin, said she was shocked when she learned the news.
“This is not like her,” Hardaway told the Daily Mail. “She's a very successful woman, she's always been successful, she's an overachiever. It's not her character. We are all trying to figure out what happened. Something very tragic must have taken place in her life because this is not her. This is not something she would ever do. We are so sorry for those families affected by this.”
Sheria Agum, another cousin of Holloway’s, also spoke highly of her, but noted a change in character about a month ago. She said Holloway’s mother told her she hadn’t heard from Holloway since she “went off the radar.”
“I have never seen my cousin like that,” Agum said. “Her whole attitude changed. She was having problems down there. When she came back she was different.”