Wednesday, May 10, 2000 | 11:03 a.m.
A Mercedes-Benz crashed through the glass doors of the Aztec Inn this morning, smashing into a bank of slot machines, injuring five people -- one seriously -- and leaving the floor littered with glass shards and coins.
The car hit the slot machines with such force that one of the machines was thrown across the room and smashed into a wall.
"I'm still surprised that no one was killed," said Paul Lybarger, the shift manager on duty at the time of the accident. "I heard tires screech first and then I heard the crash. I ducked down and when I looked up all I could see is dust."
The 33-year-old female driver, whose name was not available, was southbound on Las Vegas Boulevard about 3:50 a.m. According to the driver and witnesses, when another vehicle cut her off, she swerved and lost control of her car and careened into the Aztec Inn's bar/casino at 2200 Las Vegas Blvd. South, according to Officer Tirso Dominguez, a Metro Police spokesman.
The second vehicle involved in the accident continued on and was not located, Dominguez said. Police determined the female driver was not under the influence of alcohol, but she was ticketed for failure to maintain a travel lane, Dominguez said.
A security guard was pinned by the Mercedes inside the casino.
A 55-year-old man was listed in serious condition, and a 28-year-old man was listed in fair condition in University Medical Center. The female driver was treated at Valley Hospital and released.
Two other men suffered minor injuries from jumping out of the way when the car crashed into the casino.
"Luckily it happened when it did and there weren't very many people here," said Bill Maxwell, general manager of the Aztec Inn, which has been open for nine years.
Slot machines were tossed around the room with the contents of their coin banks spilled on the floor along with travel brochures and paperwork from the bar.
The Mercedes ran between two columns outside the front glass doors and bounced off a steel support pole along the frame of the door before going inside the building.
"It all just happened so fast," Lybarger said.
At least 15 slot machines -- costing about $8,000 apiece -- were smashed along with four touch-screen slot machines -- costing about $12,000 each.
The inn will remain open and Maxwell said he hopes to reopen the bar and slot machine area by the beginning of June.
Keith Paul covers crime and public safety for the Sun. He can be reached at (702) 259-4057 or by e-mail at [email protected]