Houston Pastry Chef Injured in SXSW Crash
On March 13, a drunk driver barreled into a crowd of concert-goers at the SXSW music festival in Austin, killing two people and injuring another 23 people. One of those injured is the pastry chef at Mark's American Cuisine, Gracie Nguyen.
Photo courtesy Mark's American Cuisine Gracie Nguyen with chef Mark Cox at Mark's.
Nguyen, 23, was in Austin for the music festival, and 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens attempted to flee from police and drove through a barricade into a crowd that included Nguyen. He's been formally charged with capital murder. Nguyen remains hospitalized at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin with fractures to her skull, left leg and right knee.
A fundraising page to help cover her medical expenses has been set up by her friends and family.
In an update on the page, a friend writes:
"Fortunately, all of her surgeries have gone well and the doctors are very optimistic. Gracie is still in the ICU under close supervision and will be out of work until further notice. Those of us in the restaurant industry know that even after she is released from the hospital, there is no telling when she will be able to work again. We started this fundraiser to help take care of Gracie's medical bills and hopefully give her family one less thing to worry about during her recovery period."
In addition to working at Mark's, Nguyen is attending the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and is a single mother with a four-year-old daughter.
The fundraising website has brought in about $16,000 of a $150,000 goal, and members of the community and the Houston restaurant industry have made donations and left messages of support for Nguyen. There is also a Facebook page dedicated to Nguyen's recovery that's providing regular updates on her progress.