SC driver plows into crowd at festival with 3 dead, 23 hurt, off - WSPA.com

SC driver plows into festival crowd with 3 dead, 23 hurt, officials say

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -

A third person has died in the crash last week at the South by Southwest festival in Texas. 

Spokeswoman Veneza Bremner says Sandy Le (lee) has died of injuries suffered early Thursday. She did not say when the 26-year-old Le died.

Le was in a crowd outside an Austin club when the driver smashed his car through a street barricade and accelerated into the group of festival goers.

Twenty-seven-year-old Jamie West of Austin and 35-year-old Dutchman Steven Craenmehr were killed at the scene. The two people who died were on a moped that the motorist hit. More than 20 others were injured.

Twenty-one-year-old Rashad Owens has been charged with capital murder and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle in the crash. He's accused of driving drunk and fleeing from police, then intentionally driving into the festival-goers.  Owens, currently lives in Killeen, Texas according to police reports. However, Owens is from Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Acevedo told reporters during a news conference that the motorist also struck a cab before crashing, jumping out of his car and trying to run. A pursuing officer shocked him with a stun gun and took him into custody.

The man faces at least two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.  With the latest death those charges are expected to change.

The accident stunned revelers at the annual music, film and interactive conference that draws tens of thousands to Austin each year. Many were getting real-time reports from social media.

The street was full of concert-goers just minutes earlier, but officials had cleared the area because it is a fire lane.

"We had a large crowd," Acevedo said at a 2:30 a.m. news conference. "I just thank God that a lot of the folks had already been pushed on the sidewalk or this could have been a lot worse."

Acevedo did not identify the driver or the victims and asked witnesses and those who may have taken video to contact police rather than post it to the Internet. All the injured were taken to area hospitals.

Police said the man pulled into a nearby gas station in a silver Toyota sedan after an officer working a drunken-driving patrol tried to stop him. He wove his way through a series of parked cars, then took off at high speed the wrong way down a one-way street. He took a right turn on Red River Street, crashing through a barricade and narrowly missing a police officer who was standing guard.

He hit some of the victims in front of The Mohawk, a local club hosting Spin events during the five-day music conference. He continued down the street where he struck and killed the two victims on the moped and then hit the cab before finally crashing.

Officers had closed off a two-block section of downtown Austin and continued to investigate into the morning. Acevedo said there were no plans to change safety protocols at the festival due to the accident.

"We do these events very well, but you cannot stop a person who rather than face drunk driving charges decides to speed at a high rate of speed, go around a uniformed officer forcing him to run out of the way, then at a high rate of speed show total disregard for the sanctity of human life," Acevedo said.

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