Driver Behind SXSW Deadly Car Crash Faces Two Capital Murder Charges & 23 Counts Of Aggravated Assault
Tragedy struck the annual music festival in Austin, Texas early thursday morning after a drunk driver plowed his car into a crowd music fans. Although authorities have not released the suspects official name, according to the Austin American-Statesman, the suspect is named Rashad Charjuan Owens, 22, of Killeen, Texas.
LA Times Reports:
AUSTIN, Texas — A car plowed into the crowd at the South by Southwest music festival early Thursday, leaving two dead and 23 injured, police said early Thursday. One of the dead was a local Austin female, who was pronounced dead at the scene police said.
Also dead is Steven Craenmehr, 35, of the Amsterdam-based music booking and promotion agency Massive Music. The company released a statement on its website this morning that read, “It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our close friend and colleague Steven Craenmehr, 35, on March 13th, 2014 at SXSW. During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter.”
Two more victims were characterized as being in “very critical condition” and three more were said to be “possibly” in need of surgery. The driver of the car was booked on two counts of capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault. His name has not yet been released by officials but he was said to be uninjured
The incident occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m. when police attempted to stop a motorist suspected of driving while intoxicated at a gas station. The driver sped off, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, and broke through a barricade. Tens of thousands of people descend upon Austin for the South by Southwest event, which is now in its 27th year, and many of the streets are closed only to pedestrian traffic.
The car then headed the wrong way down a one-way street that was crowded with music revelers. The vehicle struck a cyclist, a moped, a taxi and a van. Fatal injuries were sustained by the man on the bike — a visitor from the Netherlands — and a woman on a moped.
The suspect was taken into custody at the scene after police hit him with an electric stun gun. His name will be released by Austin police Thursday afternoon after he is formally charged.
[Images LA Times]