Who Was Jessica Valenzuela? The Las Vegas Crash Victim Was Visiting From Out Of Town
Tragedy struck the Las Vegas strip on Sunday night after a car plowed into a group of pedestrians, killing one and injuring dozens more. Among the crash victims was Jessica Valenzuela, 32, of Buckeye, Arizona, who died when the 1996 Oldsmobile sedan drove up onto the sidewalk near the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino. According to early police reports, Valenzuela had been visiting the city with her husband when the crash occurred.
According to a GoFundMe account opened to help raise funds for funeral and transportation costs, Valenzuela had been mother to three young girls and had recently celebrated her 10-year wedding anniversary. The Clark County coroner's office on Monday confirmed that it was scheduled to perform an autopsy Monday night, but would not release an exact cause of death.
During a televised press conference on Monday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo stated that he could not recall an incident with such a "high level of victimization." The alleged driver has been identified as Lakeisha Holloway from Portland, Oregon. She has been charged with murder, child abuse or neglect, and not stopping at the scene of an accident.
Within hours of the coroner's announcement, the GoFundMe account in Valenzuela's name, which was started by the victim's sister-in-law Nydia Valenzuela, had accrued nearly $3,000 in donations, with donors leaving consoling missives on the message board.
"Your loss is unimaginably tragic," wrote one woman. Another called the incident "deplorable."
During Monday's press conference, Lombardo's statement was equally frustrated and grief-stricken in tone. "The videos [of the crash] obviously show intention," he stated. "We are still working through it."
Metro Police Capt. Peter Boffelli agreed. "This is a huge tragedy that has occurred on our Strip," he lamented in a statement on Monday.