Social media sites lit up with news, videos, and opinions about one disaster in Las Vegas, but another turned deadly at almost the same time. A woman in her 20s repeatedly plowed her 1996 Oldsmobile into sidewalk crowds on the Strip, killing at least one and leaving more than three dozen injured. Police have ruled out terrorism, but say the attack was intentional:
Earlier today, police identified the suspect:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 21, 2015
Sheriff: Video in crash on Las Vegas Strip 'obviously shows intention,' adds driver may have taken a stimulant https://t.co/oVZuloIG69
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) December 21, 2015
Holloway had a three-year-old child in the car at the time, NBC’s Today reported this morning. They found her at a hotel a few blocks away:
Flashing ambulance lights overtook the glitz of the famous Strip after the deadly incident, which took place near the hotel where the Miss Universe pageant was ending.
Police said the driver, a woman in her 20s, swerved onto the sidewalk two or three times on the Strip at around 6:40 p.m. (9:40 p.m. ET) local time along a stretch of the Strip near the Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood hotels.
The 1996 Oldsmobile with Oregon plates drove off from the scene and was found parked at another hotel, according to police. The driver was detained and will face charges, police told an early-morning press conference, adding that the 3-year-old who was in her car was unharmed.
Police did not identify the driver, but said it appeared she recently had moved to the area.
The act was clearly intentional, and not just limited to one attack. After swerving off the first time, the driver then deliberately accelerated into a second group. With terrorism apparently ruled out, the big question will be mental competence. Note that substance abuse doesn’t generally impact that consideration, although prosecutors have discretion in what level of homicide charge to file. Mental competence in most states relies on a fairly narrow question of whether the defendant had a sense of right and wrong at the time of the act. Driving off from the scene would tend to show a propensity toward flight, which would indicate that the defendant was legally sane at the time of the crime, although one will have to wait until evidence is presented to know what the defense will be.
This took place at about the same time that the Miss Universe pageant had a disaster of its own, albeit a much more benign and unintentional one. Emcee Steve Harvey misread the card, and announced the wrong woman as winner. Miss Colombia, who had already been crowned, had the tiara removed on stage and handed to the actual winner, Miss Philippines. It got very, very awkward at that point:
It got awkward on social media, too, as one Twitter user started castigating Montel Williams for blowing the call. He responded with a joke, but people began taking it a little more seriously, and Williams tried to calm the waters:
For his part, Steve Harvey tried apologizing on Twitter as well, but he misspelled Colombia and turned Philippines into “Philippians,” which prompted even more derision:
Harvey deleted the tweet, but the rancor on Twitter continued for hours afterward. It seems doubtful that Harvey will return to this role, but it was a blunder, not malicious, and he did the right thing by admitting it immediately and putting all of the blame on his own shoulders. One has to feel very sorry for both women involved, one who got a little cheated of her glory and the other who got humiliated, but they will likely look on the bright side: this will make them both more memorable than many winners and first runners-up in this pageant for a very long time.