Man drives car into a festival of people
A driver allegedly plummeted into a crowded street of people in Austin, killing two and injuring multiple people, said police.
Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21 years old, is charged with capital murder after he tore into the festival, running over people, hitting other cars while driving and drinking drunk and injuring up to 23 people and leaving 2 dead.
Police caught Owen after a foot chase and tasering him. His bond is set at a $3 million. Police have not yet released the names of the dead, but has said that a woman on a moped and a man from Holland were those who were killed at the scene, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.
MassiveMusic, a music agency based in Amsterdam that holds offices around the world, posted a statement on its website identifying one of the victim killed that Thursday in Austin as Steven Craenmehr, the company's Amsterdam-based creative director.
"During the eight years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter," the website stated. "This is an irreplaceable loss for the MassiveMusic family, and we are grateful for the years we spent with him. Our thoughts are with Steven's family and friends."
Owens was said to have broken passed the barricade, while attempting to flee police, and struck into crowds after that midnight.
Many people were hardly unscathed by a matter of inches from the car.
"The car barely missed me ... I was less than a foot away," Pablo Vazquez said, who was said the suspect passed right by him. "I saw some folks die."
"It looked like something out of a movie," said Russ Barone who witnessed people bleeding on the streets. "A few people lying on the street ... with their friends around them trying to get them up, trying to get them back to life. Hopefully, they are."
"I've never seen nothing like it. I felt like I was at a war or something," said Barone. "I was down here for the music ... we were having the best time ever. And then it turned into the worst thing I've ever seen."
More than dozens of people were injured, with 23 others were hospitalized and some with multiple internal injuries. Dr. Christopher Ziebell, a medical director at the University Medical Center Brackenridge said that many of the victims were in their 20's. He said that it was fortunate that the incident happened close to the hospital and was grateful for the Travis County paramedics who had just undergone training for a similar scenario.
The drunken driver had hit pedestrians, a taxi, moped, bicycle and a van, Acevedo said. Owens now faces Capital murder, one of Texas' highest offense that may be punishable by death penalty. Owen may also face multiple counts of aggravated assault by vehicle.
The incident began when police noticed Owens' vehicle driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
Authorities attempted to stop the car near a crowded gas station. The driver pulled over, but then exited and accelerated down the street two blocks, through the parking lot.
Videos and photos began to spread on to social media, with images of people injured and responders kneeling to aid them. In some instance, paramedics could be seen performing CPR. Witness say that they could see victims being tossed into the air or being knocked down when the car sped through the crowd.
Acevedo urged people to turn in videos and pictures to authorities.
South by Southwest festival is a yearly event that features film, interactive and music festivals that draws thousands of people to the Texas capital every year.
Source: CNN "Man who plowed car into crowd at SXSW charged with capital murder". Josh Rubin and Faith Karimi, March 15, 2014