Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Lakeisha Holloway

Lakeisha Holloway currently sits in the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, pending a formal bail hearing Tuesday morning. She is on suicide watch. She is being held without bail and is expected to be charged with several felonies, including murder with a deadly weapon, after the 24-year-old mother reportedly drove onto a Las Vegas sidewalk, killing one person—Jessica Valenzuela, 32—and injuring as many as 37 others. Her 3-year-old daughter was found in the backseat of the car shortly after the melee. Neither Holloway nor her daughter was injured in the incident.

Before Holloway became a national story for her reported role in the deadly crash on the Vegas Strip, she was a local success story in her hometown of Portland, Ore., having gone from a homeless teen to a multi-scholarship-earning, first-generation college student.


"Boy, have I come a long ways," Holloway said in a 2012 video by the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, which helps at-risk youths, CNN reports. "I was a scared little girl who knew that there was more to life outside of crime, drug addiction, lower income, alcoholism, being undereducated—all of which I grew up being familiar with."

On Sunday evening, Holloway reportedly drove a 1996 Oldsmobile sedan onto a crowded Vegas street, just steps away from where the Miss Universe pageant was being held. CNN reports that the car stopped or stalled several times during the incident but that the driver purposely got the car back into drive and continued mowing down pedestrians as they scrambled for cover. Holloway reportedly drove a mile from the crash site and flagged down a security guard, noting that she needed the police because she'd just hit several people, according to CNN.


In the 2012 video, Holloway explains how her mother was an alcoholic who "drank more and cared less" about her. Her mother, according to Holloway, kicked her out of the house when she was a teen.

Without a stable living situation, Holloway had a rocky first year in high school at best. Her GPA was a lowly 1.41, but counselors from the center helped Holloway bring her grades up. According to the news station, Holloway worked through myriad family problems to graduate from Portland’s Rosemary Anderson High with a 3.4 GPA. She also earned $17,000 in scholarships.


"Today I am not the same scared girl I used to be. I am a mature young woman who has broken many generational cycles that those before hadn’t," she said in the video. "Being homeless and struggling on my own taught me to stand on my own two feet. I managed to land a federal job at age 21—now, that is what I call living the grand life."

The story of the teen living the good life and the news that is emerging from Holloway's arrest paint two vastly different portraits. Police officials told the news station that Holloway may have been in Las Vegas for about a week and that they believe her to be homeless and living out of her car. 


"The car rolled right in front of me. By the time I looked over to the right, all you could see was [her] driving away, and people were bouncing off the front of the car," one eyewitness, Antonio Nassar, said, according to CNN. "She rode the sidewalk, she came to a stop at the [Paris Las Vegas Hotel] intersection, people are punching into the window. … She accelerated again and just kept mowing people down."

Police officials have noted that Holloway hasn't said much since her arrest.

"She would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk but remembered a body bouncing off of her windshield, breaking it," authorities said in her arrest report, CNN notes.


Police added that they don't know what may have caused Holloway to snap.

According to the arrest report viewed by NBC News, Holloway told police that she wasn't using drugs and hadn't been drinking, but she did note that she was under extreme stress on Sunday because security at different locations kept forcing her to move her car, making it difficult for her to sleep.  


Read more at CNN and NBC News.

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