By Chuck Lindell and Jeremy Schwartz
Fleeing a routine early morning traffic stop in downtown Austin, a suspected drunken driver crashed through a police barricade and sped down a street crowded with South by Southwest festival-goers, killing two and leaving a horrific trail of injured pedestrians over two blocks before hitting a taxi and a parked van.
Twenty-three people were taken to area hospitals. Three were in critical condition Thursday afternoon, including two with severe head injuries. Six others also remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon, including three in fair condition with injuries that include a spinal fracture, head injuries and other problems.
“The two critical patients (with head injuries), I have a great deal of concern and worry about,” said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, emergency room director at University Medical Center Brackenridge. “Not everyone with these injuries survives.”
The driver — identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, of Killeen — was struck with a police taser and arrested as he tried to flee on foot. He was treated for minor injuries at University Medical Center Brackenridge and released into police custody, where he will face two charges of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.
“That vehicle was used as a weapon, and he will be charged with those crimes,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
One of the dead, a Dutch musician and music agency employee identified as Steven Craenmehr, was riding a bicycle near the intersection of East 11th and Red River streets when struck. The other, an Austin woman on a moped, also was killed. Both were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Another rider on the moped, a man, was injured.http://www.statesman.com/news/news/sxsw-tragedy-2-killed-23-hurt-as-car-speeds-throug/nfCLQ/