Two Dead and Almost Two Dozen Injured at SXSW Festival After Car Plows Into Crowd

Mar 13, 2014  •  Post A Comment

An attempted traffic stop early today at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, ended in tragedy as two people were killed and almost two dozen others were injured, CNN reports.

Authorities said an intoxicated driver fleeing police drove his car into a crowd outside a nightclub.

"The driver, who now faces two counts of capital murder, Texas’ highest offense, hit pedestrians, a moped, a taxi, a bicycle and a van, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Authorities will not release the driver’s identity until he is formally charged," CNN reports. "The suspect also faces 23 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle, Acevedo said."

The two fatalities were identified as a Dutch man who was riding a bicycle and a local woman who was on a moped, according to Acevedo.

"MassiveMusic, a music agency with offices around the world, posted a statement on its website and Facebook page identifying the company’s Amsterdam-based creative director, Steven Craenmehr, as a person killed Thursday in Austin," the story reports.

The company’s Facebook post said: "During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter. 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."

Twenty-three people, most of them in their 20s, were reportedly admitted to area hospitals, some with multiple internal injuries.

"As of late Thursday morning, 15 of the 23 people hospitalized had been released, according to James Shamard, chief of staff for Austin-Travis County EMS," the story reports. "Two patients remain in ‘very critical’ condition, three are in serious condition and receiving treatment, while three others remain hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, he said."

The incident reportedly began just after midnight when an officer spotted someone driving the wrong way down a one-way street and tried to pull over the driver.

"A patrol officer attempted to stop the car near a crowded gas station, Acevedo said. The driver, the chief said, acted as if he was pulling over into the gas station, but he continued through the parking lot and exited, accelerating down the street," the story reports. "The officer attempting to pull him over couldn’t follow him because the parking lot was so crowded, so he had to back out, Acevedo said. Another officer working barricade control had to jump out of the driver’s way as he accelerated for about two blocks, striking pedestrians and vehicles, the chief said."

The driver was reportedly caught and subdued after a foot chase.


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