Two people have been killed and 23 more injured overnight in Austin, Texas when a car drove through SXSW (South by Southwest) festival barricades and hit a crowd of pedestrians, according to local police.
The incident occurred at approximately 12:30am outside the Mohawk Bar where punk band X were playing and A$AP MOB, a Harlem hip hop collective, were due to start performing.
According to Austin Chief of Police, Art Acevedo an allegedly intoxicated male was driving alone in a silver Toyota and was being pursued by police. He proceeded to drive the wrong way down the one-way street, 9th St, before turning onto Red River Street where he plowed through a festival barricade and hit a number of pedestrians, a taxi and a moped before crashing into a van. The driver reportedly got out of the car and attempted to flee the scene. An officer gave chase and then tasered and apprehended him.
The two deceased, an adult man and an adult female, were riding the moped and were pronounced dead at the scene. Following the incident, music venues along Red River Street were shut down so police could conduct an investigation into the crash.
Of those injured, five are said to be in a critical condition. Those requiring medical attention were transported to three local hospitals, Commander Mike Benavides said.
While more information will be released at a press conference later today (March 13) at 3pm local time, Variety reports Acevedo as saying “the suspect will be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault in a vehicle”.
During the press conference, Acevedo said, “There’s one person responsible and that’s that person who got behind that wheel and decided to drink and drive … and then when stopped by police, cared more about himself than these people out here. He needs to go to jail, and hopefully for a long time.”
While no official statement has been released from the SXSW organisers, they did tweet asking for festival goers who were in the area at the time of the incident to contact the Austin Police Department:
If you were on the scene at the car/pedestrian accident on Red River March 13, please call APD – 512-974-5186
— SXSW (@sxsw) March 13, 2014
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