One person was killed and dozens were injured on Sunday when a woman deliberately drove her car onto a crowded pavement on the Las Vegas Strip, near the hotel where the Miss Universe beauty pageant was being held, police said.
The woman, who had a three-year-old in the car with her, was taken into custody and was having her blood tested for possible intoxicants, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief Brett Zimmerman told reporters.
Rabia Qureshi, a tourist visiting from Wisconsin, told broadcaster KSNV she saw victims “flying through the air“ when the car crashed into the throng of people.
“The car was like a bowling ball and the human bodies were like pins,“ she said.
Zimmerman said the driver had intentionally mounted the curb as many as three times during the incident, and that charges were expected to be filed against her in coming hours. He gave no indications of a motive but ruled out the possibility of terrorism.
The United States has been on high alert since 14 people were killed in a December 2nd attack in San Bernardino, California, when two radicalised Muslims 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 eventually stabilized.
An 11-year-old was among the injured, along with visitors from Montreal, Canada, said University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen. The child accompanying the driver was not hurt.
Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said the crash occurred at around 6:40pm when the Miss Universe pageant was nearing its finale at the nearby Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
Police warned people to avoid the area and said part of the strip had been closed to traffic. Long delays were expected.
A Reuters witness said a large number of emergency and police vehicles were in the area. Some passers-by were using smart phones to snap photos of the scene while others seemed nonplussed.
The pageant was won by Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, a 26-year-old actress and model from the Philippines. Organisers initially mistakenly awarded first place Colombian Ariadna Gutierrez Aravalo (21) who then had to give the crown back. Reuters