One dead, at least 36 hurt in crash near venue of Miss Universe pageant

Las Vegas police investigate following a traffic accident in front of the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas police investigate following a traffic accident in front of the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas.PHOTO: REUTERS

LAS VEGAS (REUTERS) -  One person was killed and at least 36 were injured on Sunday night (Dec 20) when a motorist drove onto a crowded sidewalk on the Las Vegas Strip, near the hotel and casino where the Miss Universe pageant was being held, officials said.

University Medical Centre spokesman Danita Cohen said at least one child was among the injured and that many of the victims they received spoke French and requested translators, indicating they may have been tourists visiting the area famed for its casinos and sprawling hotels.

Spokesman Peter Boffelli of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told reporters that of the three dozen injured, seven were in critical condition and four had already been released.

He said it was not immediately clear if the female driver intended to cause harm or if she was impaired, but added that she had been taken into custody. She was being interviewed and tested for drugs and alcohol.

“This is a huge tragedy that occurred on our strip,” he added.

Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said the crash occurred at around 6:38 pm. The Miss Universe pageant was nearing its finale inside the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino nearby at the time.

Police warned people to avoid the area and said a section of the strip in the vicinity had been closed to traffic.

Images of the scene published by media showed a swarm of emergency and police vehicles in the area, with passers-by looking on and snapping photos with smartphones.