21-Year-Old Driver ID'd in SXSW Car Fatalities

Rashad Owens faces death penalty
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2014 2:23 PM CDT
21-Year-Old Driver ID'd in SXSW Car Fatalities
People are treated after being struck by a vehicle on Red River Street in downtown Austin.   (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)

The driver accused of plowing into a crowd at the South by Southwest Festival, killing two and injuring 23 others, has been identified as 21-year-old Rashad Owens of Killeen, Texas, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Police say the tragedy began about 12:30am when an officer tried to pull over Owens for suspected drunken driving. Owens pulled into a gas station parking lot, then gunned it the wrong way down a one-way street, say police. He eventually turned onto Red River Street, crashed through a barricade and struck festivalgoers, say authorities. Killed were Steven Craenmehr, who was riding a bike, and an Austin woman who was riding a moped. She hasn't been identified. Craenmehr worked for Amsterdam's MassiveMusic.

Because he is charged with capital murder, Owens faces the death penalty. “That vehicle was used as a weapon, and he will be charged with those crimes,” says Austin's police chief. Two people remain in critical condition with head injuries, and six others are still in the hospital with lesser injuries. A soldier at Fort Hood, meanwhile, has reported that his car was stolen, and it appears to be the vehicle driven by Owens, reports MySanAntonio.com. Owens himself is not a Fort Hood soldier. In 2011, he was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident in Fairbanks, Alaska, reports a separate American-Statesman story. (More Austin stories.)

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