2 Dead In SXSW Hit-And-Run

By Tom Breihan / March 13, 2014 - 4:16 am

Horrible news from Austin: Tonight, outside the local venue the Mohawk, a drunk driver fleeing from police plowed into an area that had been blocked off for SXSW, killing at least two people. Several reports state that the driver sped into the blocked-off intersection outside the club at 9th and Red River, hitting a terrifying number of pedestrians, many who were in line to see Tyler, The Creator headline the House Of Vans showcase. As I write this, besides the two dead, 23 people are reported injured, including five in critical condition. The driver is in police custody.

Here’s more from AP:

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says 23 others were injured, five of them critically, in the incident around 12:30 a.m. Thursday. He says the two people who died were on a mo-ped that the motorist hit along with pedestrians who were leaving a club where a concert had been held.

The chief says the man also struck a cab before jumping out of his car and trying to run. Officers shocked him with a stun gun and took him into custody.

If you’re at SXSW, it might be a good idea to get on Twitter or Facebook and let everyone know you’re OK.

UPDATE 3/13 12PM CST: Austin police say the suspect, a black adult male, will be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. The deceased are a local Austin woman who was riding a moped and a man from the Netherlands who was on a bicycle. Of eight others who remain hospitalized, two are in critical condition. SXSW has released this statement:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin. We appreciate and commend the first responders, as well as the city agencies who so quickly sprung into action. We will be making schedule and venue changes for programming in the surrounding area of last night’s events. All other programming will continue as previously scheduled.

Stereogum’s event at the Mohawk on Thursday has been canceled.

UPDATE 3/13 6PM CST: Police have arrested 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens, who will be charged with capital murder and aggravated assault with a vehicle.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo characterized Owen’s actions as intentional: “This is an individual who showed no regard for the human beings he plowed through.”

A list of the 23 injured has been released and the two dead have been identified as 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr, creative director of Massive Music, and 27-year-old Jamie West, a resident of Austin.

SXSW has announced that Mohawk and Cheer Up Charlie’s reopen for business at 7PM tonight, and a SXSW Cares fund will help people affected by yesterday’s tragedy.

A special edition report from KVUE can be viewed below.

[Photo via @ColinKerrigan.]