LAS VEGAS (AP) — A speeding vehicle crashed through the entrance of a hotel in the southern Nevada resort town of Laughlin on Wednesday, killing two patrons, injuring at least eight others before it came got wedged at a bank of slot machines, authorities said.
Investigators believe the 75-year-old male driver suffered a medical episode before the 9:30 a.m. crash at the Edgewater Hotel & Casino, police said.
The vehicle "drove right through the glass doors at the front entrance, knocked over a bunch of slots like toys, and came to rest in the gaming area," Bullhead City Fire Division Chief Bill Kinsey, incident commander for a mutual aid response from the Arizona city across the Colorado River. He estimated that the vehicle came to rest about 35 feet inside the casino.
"Slot machines were just everywhere, just wiped out, tumbled and tossed," he said.
One of the dead ended up a few feet from the back of the vehicle, Kinsey said. Another was wedged beneath the vehicle and some slot machines.
Five people were taken to hospitals with unspecified injuries, and three others, including the driver, were treated at the scene for minor injuries, Las Vegas police Officer Barbara Morgan said. Las Vegas police cover most of Clark County, including Laughlin, a Colorado River resort about 100 miles south of Las Vegas.
The driver of the silver Pontiac Vibe was being questioned, Kinsey said.
Power was immediately shut off, and the casino area was evacuated. Kinsey said he didn't think guests were told to evacuate the rest of the 1,200-room hotel.
Kinsey said he expected casino security videotapes would show every detail of the crash, including the car approaching from near Casino and Bruce Woodbury drives, and crashing through the glass doors. "Those poor people, just minding their own business, and they get plowed over by a vehicle," Kinsey said.
"I don't think they ever saw it coming," he said.
Joe Magliarditi, casino chief operating officer, said he was told the vehicle plowed through the lobby after speeding down a 150-foot horseshoe-shaped driveway toward the 26-story hotel on the Colorado River waterfront. "I've heard numbers from 60 miles per hour or higher," Magliarditi said.
Morgan said witnesses told police the vehicle approached the front of the hotel at "an extremely high rate of speed."
Police at the scene reported that alcohol or drugs did not appear to be factors in the crash, Morgan said.
Associated Press writer Oskar Garcia contributed to this report.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
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