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  1. #1
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    2 killed, 23 injured at SXSW

    Being a board of music and festival lovers I thought that some of you might want to know about this. Apparently this driver could be facing the death penalty for murder.

    Deadly car crash dampens mood at SXSW
    Two are dead and 23 were injured after an alleged drunk driver crashed through a barricade at the popular music festival.

    AUSTIN, TEX.—A shocked and sombre mood dampened the usual South by Southwest revelry on Thursday as festivalgoers attempted to process the news that an alleged drunk driver had killed two of their number in a mad flight from police early Thursday morning.

    The carnage began around 12:30 a.m. when a motorist tried to evade a police sobriety checkpoint by weaving through a Shell gas station and charging down a one-way street in the opposite direction. Police gave chase, but when the driver got to Red River St., one of the epicentres of the sprawling SXSW music fest, he smashed through a barricade closing the road to traffic and drove straight through the crowd for two blocks, mowing pedestrians down in his path and colliding with a moped, a bicycle and a taxi before attempting to flee the scene on foot. Witnesses told multiple local news outlets that they’d seen bodies flying in the air behind the Toyota.

    A foot officer eventually overtook the man “and was actually forced to Taser him to take him into custody,” a shaken Austin police chief Art Acevedo told reporters at an early-morning press conference. Not before, however, the two victims — Steven Craenmehr, 35, visiting Austin from the Netherlands who was struck dead while riding a bike, and an adult female from Texas who had been a passenger on the moped — had been pronounced dead at the scene, and 23 others were rushed to hospital, five of them with injuries considered critical. The driver of the moped was in stable condition, said Acevedo, while the rest were “walking wounded to moderate.”

    “As a result of this person’s reckless and willful disregard for the people of this city,” said Acevedo, Austin police will be charging the man responsible with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. They were withholding the name while they waited for the charges to be filed on Thursday morning, but the Austin American-Statesman newspaper identified the accused as 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens of nearby army town Killeen.

    South by Southwest events scheduled at clubs on the affected strip of Red River, such as the Mohawk and Cheer Up Charlie’s, were being moved, rescheduled or cancelled outright on Thursday, although a much-hyped evening performance by pop queen Lady Gaga at Stubb’s a couple of blocks away was going ahead as planned.

    “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin,” SXSW organizers said in a statement.

    South by Southwest consumes most of downtown Austin so most festivalgoers had no idea anything out of the ordinary had happened in Thursday’s early hours. Even sirens are inaudible over the din emanating from the dozens of clubs hosting live shows during the festival, after all. It was, thus, through text, Twitter and other social media that news and photographs of the horrific scene on Red River first spread like wildfire through the tens of thousands of SXSW attendees.

    On Thursday, the area where the deaths occurred was blockaded and thronging with TV reporters. SXSW’s managing director, Roland Swenson, was witnessed solemnly observing the scene.

    “As much as we would just like to go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel that our best use is to continue to operate today,” he told Reuters earlier.

    Deadly car crash dampens mood at SXSW | Toronto Star

  2. #2
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    My daughter went to UT Austin and graduated in 2012 but still lives there. The Mohawk club is on Red River about 8 blocks South of campus near the Texas State Capitol.............I can drive you right to it.
    It is sort of a Northern edge of entertainment venues that surround 6th street and SXSW is all over that area............sad news.
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