Update: Third Person Dies; Man, 21, Charged With Capital Murder in SXSW Fatal Crash

Categories: Crime

Owens.jpg
Rashad Charjuan Owens
Update: 3/17 Sandy Thuy Le, 26, who had previously been listed in critical condition after Rashad Charjuan Owens allegedly drove into a crowd of SXSW festival-goers has been pronounced dead, according to Austin police. She's the third person to die in the incident.

Update from Austin Police on 3/14, with a list of victims on Page 2: Rashad Charjuan Owens of Killeen has been charged with one count of capital murder after police say he fatally struck two people at the SXSW festival in Austin. He's being held in the Travis County jail on $3 million bail.

According to a preliminary investigation by the Austin Police Department, Owens was attempting to flee a traffic stop early Thursday and drove at a high rate of speed against the flow of traffic on 9th Street, and then turned right onto a barricaded Red River Street. Police said Owens crashed through the barricades and into a crowd, sending festival-goers in the air and injuring nearly two dozen people.

READ: Safety and SXSW: Was the Mohawk Tragedy a Tipping Point?

Police said Owens hit a moped, a taxicab and a bicyclist, ran up on a sidewalk and struck a van. He took off on foot, and two Austin cops tased him and arrested him.

Of the injured victims, Gracie Nguyen remains in serious condition, while DeAndre Tatum and Sandy Thuy Le both are in critical condition. All three are being treated at UMC Brackenridge hospital, according to Austin police.

Police provided the entire list of people injured in this event:
Evan West, 29
Joseph McCraney, 26
Mason Endres, 18
Kartisha Davis, 18
Greg Cerna, 19
April Martinez, 29
Ryan Freeman, 20
Johannes Hailu, 39
Maria Belyvia, 20
Carolyn Grace, 19
Jeff Chenzer, 29
Ashley Easley, 20
Jacob Gallegos, 20
Erica Hall, 19
Jane Henderson, 24
William Josma, 29
Juan Leura, 20
Jaqueline Longhurst, 21
Alexis Zamarippa, 17

Update, 5 p.m.: The Austin American-Statesman reports that authorities have identified the deceased victims as 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West of Austin and Steven Craenmehr, 35, a music executive from the Netherlands.


Original Story:
As they say, the show must go on, but this year's SXSW has been marred by a tragic motor vehicle crash that's left two people dead, two in critical condition, and three more in serious condition, according to Jennifer Herber of the Austin Police department.

Twenty-five people in total were hit when a car came plowing down Red River Street just after 12:30 a.m. About 15 people were treated and released from the hospital.

The Austin American-Statesman has confirmed that the suspect in the deadly crash is a 22-year-old man from Killeen. According to Herber, police aren't expected to officially release details about the driver and charges against him until later today.

"In the 27 years that SXSW has been going on, we've never had something like this occur," she told Hair Balls.



The identities of the deceased victims have not been released, pending notification of relatives, Herber said. What we do know is that one of those killed was a woman riding a moped with another man, that was reportedly struck by the car. The man remains in the hospital. The other fatality was a man from the Netherlands who was riding his bike when he was struck.

The driver, cops said, was allegedly trying to flee from a DWI stop at 9th Street and the Interstate 35 service road. He struck a moped, taxi cab and a parked van, before police could apprehend him. Capital murder charges and multiple counts of aggravated assault are expected to be filed against the suspect in this case, according to police.

The American Red Cross has set up an information line for family who want to check in on relatives who may be among those injured at 1-800-928-4271.

Austin police are asking that anyone with video or photos from the scene give them a call at 512-928-5186.


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