A third person has died from the injuries sustained in last week’s car crash at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, in which a a driver plowed through a crowd barricade outside of The Mohawk on Red River St, killing two people on the scene and injuring dozens of others.
Austin Police have identified the third fatality as Sandy Thuy Le, 26. A family spokesperson told CNN that Le’s family was by her side at the hospital in Austin when she died Monday morning. Le’s brother-in-law, Stuart Gates, was quoted as describing Le as a “free spirit”. He said she had moved to Austin three years ago to finish her college degree.
According to Gates, Le’s family, who live in Mississippi, had faced many tragedies in the past few years. He said they were one of the many families to lose their home during Hurricane Katrina and they had been financially hurt when their shrimping business was affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Sandy Thuy Le’s funeral will be held in her home state in the next few days. 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens has been identified as the driver and was charged last week with two counts of capital murder. Police allege he was intoxicated while driving and that he drove into the crowds after refusing to stop for an officer who tried to pull him over.
The other two fatalities have been identified as 35-year-old Netherlands man Steven Gerardus Hendrikus Craenmehr and 27-year-old Austin woman, Jamie Ranae West. 23 people were initially hospitalised, some with multiple internal injuries. According to Dr. Christopher Ziebell, medical director at the University Medical Centre, most of the victims are in their 20s.
Five of the injured remained hospitalised Monday at University Medical Centre, including one person in critical condition and two in serious condition, spokeswoman Kendra Clawson said. Two other patients remained hospitalised elsewhere. Last weekend, 18-year-old Mason Endres, one of 23 SXSW attendees injured during the crash, received a private performance from Jared & The Mill while in her hospital bed at St David’s Medical Center in Austin.
Capital murder is Texas’ highest offence and is punishable by imprisonment for life without parole or the death penalty, under state law. An Austin Police spokesperson said a Travis County grand jury will determine whether Owens will face any more charges because of the third death.