Driver who ploughed into Las Vegas crowd makes first court appearance

Lakeisha Holloway in a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department booking photo.
Lakeisha Holloway in a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department booking photo.PHOTO: REUTERS

LAS VEGAS (REUTERS) - An Oregon woman accused of ploughing her car into a crowd on a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk, killing one person and injuring dozens of others, showed little emotion as she made her first court appearance on Wednesday to face charges including murder.

Lakeisha Holloway, 24, was clad in a blue jail jumpsuit with her hands cuffed to a chain around her waist, and appeared alert but subdued during an appearance in Clark County criminal court lasting less than five minutes.

She stood upright and nodded her head when asked if she understood the charges against her.

Holloway, who police said had her three-year-old daughter with her in the car at the time, has been charged with one count of murder through use of a deadly weapon in the death of a 32-year-old Arizona woman who was among those struck by the sedan on Sunday.

She also has been charged with child abuse or neglect and leaving the scene of a collision.

The judge set her next court date for Jan 20. Holloway has been detained without bond since her arrest shortly after the incident.

Two people struck by the car remained hospitalised in critical condition at University Medical Centre of Southern Nevada on Wednesday and two others were listed in serious condition.

About three dozen people were injured in the incident, authorities said.

Authorities said Holloway had been living in her car with her daughter in Las Vegas for about a week and was driving on a suspended Oregon licence.

Authorities have said her motive remained unclear, but that videos show she intentionally drove into people.

"I don't know what she was thinking, normal people don't do what she did, but we all have stressors in our lives," Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told reporters.

Holloway told detectives she had been trying to sleep in her car earlier on Sunday but became stressed when she was repeatedly chased off by security guards, a police report said.

She repeatedly drove her Oldsmobile sedan onto the sidewalk, ramming pedestrians as bystanders pounded on the windows and tried to pull open her car door to stop her, police said.

"She's very concerned about her child. She's a loving mother," said her public defender, Joseph Abood.

The toddler is in custody of the county family services agency, Abood said.

Holloway was being held in a "medically restricted" jail unit for inmates requiring increased supervision including those on suicide watch, police said.