Friday, Jan. 23, 2004 | 11:17 a.m.
An elderly Las Vegas couple died when their car crashed through a concrete barrier and plunged off the fourth floor of the Golden Nugget's parking garage Thursday afternoon.
Metro Police said the car's driver apparently accidentally drove the vehicle off the parking deck while pulling into a designated parking space.
Witnesses said they saw the couple in a white 2002 Toyota Camry driving very slowly and normally, making their way to the open space, Metro Police spokesman Doug Nutton said.
The 83-year-old male driver took a right turn into the space, accelerated, struck a concrete barrier and drove over the ledge of the deck about 4:30 p.m.
Police speculated that he accidentally pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal.
The driver and his passenger, a 79-year-old woman, were pronounced dead at the scene. The Clark County Coroner's office today identified them as George Yago Jr. and Maureen Yago. The vehicle fell 36 feet, missed electrical wires and landed on its roof in an alley between the Golden Nugget parking deck and Little Annie's Hotel Nevada on Main Street.
No pedestrians in the alley or adjacent parking lot were injured, Nutton said.
Alcohol or foul play are not believed to have been factors in the accident, Nutton said, noting that the accident remains under investigation.
"We believe it was just a tragic accident," Nutton said.
Theo Hindlen, a tourist from Chicago, said he and his girlfriend were walking down Main Street when they heard the sound of the "extremely loud crash."
"It was like a bomb or an explosion went off," Hindlen said. "We didn't know what it could have been. We jogged around the corner and saw people rushing to this white car on the ground. The wheels looked like they were still spinning in the air."
"I can't believe it drove through that wall," he said. "They must have been going with some force or those walls aren't as strong as I thought they were. That wall just exploded."
Gyll Lanking, from Arizona, was also surprised that the concrete barrier didn't stop the car.
"You would think that barrier and the fence wall would stop you to some degree," she said. "They had to have slammed on the gas hard. I don't see how that wall didn't stop them. It looks like something from a movie."
Nutton explained that the vehicle accelerated and first drove over concrete curb, which helped launch the vehicle through the wall.
Nutton said the accident was one of the strangest things he's seen.
"Las Vegas is the capital of strange," he said. "And this is right up there."