LAS VEGAS (AP) — A car went out of control near a Las Vegas intersection and rolled as it slammed into a bus stop, killing four pedestrians and injuring several other people. Police said the driver faces charges of driving under the influence resulting in death.
The horrific crash killed three women and a man as they waited for a bus shortly before 6:30 a.m. PDT Thursday, police said. Three others at the bus stop and five people in the car were injured.
"It's a pretty horrific scene out here," Las Vegas police officer Laura Meltzer.
Driver Gary Lee Hosey Jr., 24, was hospitalized in serious condition. Police said Thursday night that he was "booked in absentia on four counts of DUI-death."
The crash occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m. PDT as the car went out of control and left the roadway while traveling through an intersection.
"The vehicle began to roll over as it struck a total of seven pedestrians sitting on/near a bus bench," police said in a release.
The dead — women ages 47, 49, and 65, and a 24-year-old man — were all Las Vegas residents but their names were being withheld pending notification of relatives, police said.
In addition to Hosey, all four passengers in his car and three people waiting at the bus stop were injured. Police said four were hospitalized with critical injuries, two with serious injuries, and one was treated and released for minor injuries. The injured ranged in age from 19 to 31 and all but one is from Las Vegas.
Debris and sheet-covered bodies remained on the scene several hours after the crash. Roads were shut down well into the afternoon as investigators worked to piece together the chain of events along the busy business corridor lined by fast-food restaurants, strip malls and gas stations two miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.
At least some of the occupants had to be removed from the vehicle, police said.
A police officer who was fueling his vehicle at a nearby convenience store watched as the car appeared to lose control and bottom out on a downward slope before leaving the pavement and slamming into the bus stop, according to police Sgt. Richard Strader.
"First responders said they smelled alcohol, and he even said something to the effect that he had been drinking," Strader said.
The vehicle, which came to rest in a fast-food restaurant parking lot, was so mangled that authorities initially had difficulty determining its make and model.
The driver has a collapsed lung and possibly a broken back, according to police.
Meltzer said some of the victims were dismembered. The bus stop was flattened and its roof landed 15 feet from the spot where the structure once stood. Newspaper stands and concrete littered the scene.
"It's so tragic because this is preventable," Meltzer said. "This person made a choice" to drive under the influence.
The four deaths brought the number of people killed in traffic accidents in Las Vegas police jurisdiction to 83 this year.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.