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Two Dead After Driver Runs Down Crowd At SXSW

Written by Greg Moskovitch on 13th March, 2014

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SXSW Crash Site / Image: Colin Kerrigan Via Twitter

CBS News Dallas/Fort Worth have confirmed that a car has crashed into a crowd of people at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference in Austin, Texas. Details at the moment are sparse, but according to eyewitness reports, the incident occurred outside of The Mohawk on Red River St.

CBS News Dallas/Fort Worth are reporting that a “vehicle has has plowed into a crowd near SXSW in Austin” and that two people are dead on the scene, with 13 hurt and one currently being administered CPR. theMusic.com.au reports that the area is being evacuated as of 4:55pm AEDT.

UPDATE: Suspect in SXSW crash an aspiring rapper with active online presence — full details here!

According to one eyewitness, a “major accident” occurred “between 8th and 10th on Red River,” whereby a “car plowed into a crowd outside Mohawk.” Everything “between 8th and 10th” has reportedly been “shutdown,” as theMusic.com.au reports that police have cordoned off the area.

UPDATE 5:26pm 13/03/14: The official twitter account of the Austin Police Department have confirmed that the “APD working a multiple fatality crash at 10th/Red River. PIO is responding.”

John Wickham, owner of local venue Elysium, has told local outlet the Austin Statesman that he was on the upper level of the Mohawk when he saw a car coming down the street fast with a police car in pursuit, before the car hit several people. He said he didn’t see the police car hit anyone.

Austin Police have confirmed that there will be a media briefing at 2:00am local time (6:00pm AEDT), with “all public safety at 9th and Red River regarding the fatalities.”

UPDATE 5:44pm 13/03/14: Austin-Travis County EMS and the Austin Police Dept have now confirmed that “23 individuals have been transported. Of those 5 are in critical condition, 2 deceased.” There are also five with moderate to serious injuries and 13 walking-wounded.

Police are appealing to the public for any information about the incident, tweeting, “If you witnessed the incident that took place at 9th and Red River please make sure you talk with an officer on the scene. #SXSW.”

Austin Police say an “individual is in custody,” confirming an earlier eyewitness report retweeted by local KVUE News, reading, “Officer tells me they did catch the driver.” Police say more details will come shortly. Names of the deceased will be withheld “until proper notifications have been made.”

The media briefing scheduled for 2:00am local time (6:00pm AEDT) has been delayed as more information comes through.

UPDATE 6:33pm 13/03/14: TheMusic.com.au are reporting from the police press conference. Police chief Art Acevedo says the driver, a black male, the sole passenger in a silver Toyota, was a DUI being pursued by police. The car went through a gas station and went the wrong way up one-way street. The driver then drove through a barrier at a high speed at 12:30am local time, striking two groups of people, a moped and a van, and killing two on the moped.

According to TheMusic.com.au, Acevedo reiterated that police shouldn’t be blamed for this tragedy, and only one person was responsible. “I’m thankful it isn’t worse than this,” said Acevedo.

The driver has been charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 charges of aggravated assault. Police are asking for witnesses and people who have footage of the incident to contact police, and not post online.

According to KVUE News the accident started as a DWI stop at a gas station on the I-35 access road. The suspect fled the wrong way down a one-way street (9th street) and turned onto Red River. The suspect was tased and apprehended.

UPDATE 6:50pm 13/03/14: There has been no confirmation of the nationality of the victims. The deceased were pronounced dead at the scene and all seriously injured people were removed within 15 mins.

UPDATE 7:10pm 13/03/14: Austin Police Dept Lt Brian Moon told ABC News, “We had a vehicle crash through some of our temporary [SXSW] barricades at 10th and Red River Streets… The driver continued to drive after crashing through the barricades and hit numerous pedestrians before the vehicle stopped.”

UPDATE 9:20am 14/03/14: The driver being held in custody for the fatal crash has been identified as 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens and the identity of one of the fatalities has been revealed. Police have also issued a list of the known injured victims.See all new developments here.

UPDATE 10:21am 14/03/14: Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the identities of the of the man and woman killed overnight at SXSW in Austin. They confirmed previous reports that the killed man was 35-year-old Netherlands national Steven Gerardus Hendrikus Craenmehr. The female fatality was identified as 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West, a resident of Austin, Texas.

Music Feeds will have more updates as they emerge.

Watch: Austin Police Department Media Brief

Courtesy of Austin Statesman

Watch: Aftermath footage and eyewitness reports (WARNING – CONTAINS DISTRESSING IMAGES)

Courtesy of Socrates Villarreal

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