You may have heard of today’s tragic accident in Laughlin Nevada where a man drove his Pontiac Vibe through the front doors of the Edgewater Casino killing two guests and injuring several more (link).

Interestingly, not 10 minutes before the accident, I walked through those doors to a work conference (Yes, here in Nevada, biologists meet in casinos. Usually, meetings are in the conference rooms but I have also done important work in casino bars, lounges, swimming pools, and hotel rooms.)

Anyway, it wasn’t that close of a call. I didn’t even hear the wreck. The meeting organizers made an announcement to stay out of the casino that there was an accident and later they announced there was two fatalities. I took a few pictures:

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The casino entrance is at the end of a long driveway. There is a covered valet area. This casino is an older property and doesn’t have bollards to prevent vehicles from striking the entrance. Truthfully, I spend little time in casinos and don’t know if newer casinos have bollards. The ladder truck is from the Clark County Fire department. With the large casino towers in Laughlin, the county does have a serious fire fighting presence there.
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Police cordon on the driveway. The driveway is pretty long and there is a traffic signal on the main street. Across the street is a road called Bruce Woodbury which, if I remember, is fairly steep. Apparently, the driver came down Bruce Woodbury, ran the signal, and went into the casino.


View Edgwater Accident in a larger map

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I’m guessing about one third to one half of the casino was cordoned off and this black curtain was quickly installed to block the view of the accident.
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Another view of the entrance area with cones marking the supposed path of the car.

In any case, this was a real tragedy. I feel terrible for the families of the victims, the injured, and the driver. There isn’t much that can be done to prevent these types of accidents. Police are thinking it was a medical issue with the driver and have charged him with felony reckless driving. I wonder if that charge is to keep in custody while the investigation continues. I think that is reasonable.

A long-shot scenario is that it was a sudden acceleration problem. That could be a accelerator/ brake confusion problem. Also, the Vibe is a Toyota-GM joint venture car. I’m sure investigators will look at the possibility of a stuck or malfunctioning accelerator pedal.

I’m not terribly scared or upset by the fact that I was rather close to the accident. These things happen, and I know the world can be a uncaring and dangerous place (heck, I was frightened by an avalanche I witnessed last weekend).

I’m glad I kissed my kids this morning. And it is a very good reminder that I need to get my ex-wife off of one of my insurance policies!