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Six SXSW Crash Victims Remain In Hospitals

Six people injured when a Central Texas man drove through a crowd at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival remained in hospitals Tuesday.

(File)

AUSTIN (March 18, 2014) Six people injured when a Central Texas man suspected of drunken driving plowed through a South By Southwest festival crowd in Austin.

Jamie Rane West, 27, of Austin, and Steven Craenmehr, 35, of the Netherlands, both died at the scene.

Sandy Le, 26, of Austin, who was critically injured, later died at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin.

Five victims remained at Brackenridge Tuesday, one in critical condition, two in fair condition and two in good condition, spokesman Steve Taylor said.

One victim remains at St. David's Medical Center in fair condition.

Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, of Killeen, meanwhile, remained in the Travis County Jail Tuesday in lieu of $3 million bond, facing capital murder and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle charges.

Police say Owens was fleeing from an officer after a traffic stop when he plowed through the crowd of concertgoers on Red River Street in downtown Austin.

Owens has two misdemeanor convictions for criminal trespass in Bell County stemming from incidents in August 2010 at Shoemaker High School and January 2011 at a convenience store in Killeen.

In both cases he pleaded guilty, was given credit for jail time served and was granted probation.

He was held in the Bell County Jail from Oct. 16 to Nov. 2, 2012, Bell County sheriff's Lt. Donnie Adams said in an email.

He was released after pleading guilty to the second misdemeanor charge on Nov. 2, 2012.

In October 2011 he was charged with misdemeanor DWI and leaving the scene of an accident in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Owens pleaded to the DWI charge and the second charge was dismissed.

The series of events that led to the carnage started after an officer who was working overtime as part of an effort to catch drunken drivers tried to stop the man just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday at a Shell gas station just off southbound Interstate 35, Austin police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The man pulled into the station’s parking lot, but then suddenly pulled onto 9th street, accelerated, and fled at a high rate of speed, Acevedo said.

The officer, whose patrol unit was boxed in by other cars, had to back out of the parking lot and was turning onto 9th Street at the same time the fleeing driver was turning onto Red River, Acevedo said.

The officer tried to catch up with the vehicle, but didn’t actually initiate a pursuit until reaching Red River, Acevedo said.

Another officer was forced to jump out of the way as the vehicle smashed through the barricade he was manning on Rd River.

At 11th Street and Red River, the vehicle struck a taxi and then veered onto a sidewalk and into a parking lot where it struck a van, Acevedo said.

At that point the driver jumped out and began to run, he said.

The pursuing officer gave chase, joined by the officer who had been manning the barricade.

The first officer had to use a Taser to subdue the man, he said.

He was taken to an Austin hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

Even more people were on the street minutes before the incident, but officials had cleared the area because it’s a fire lane.


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