2 dead, 23 injured after car plows into crowd outside venue at SXSW festival in Texas

Posted: March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
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BY AND / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

PUBLISHED: THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014, 6:17 AM
UPDATED: THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014, 11:37 AM
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JAY JANNER/AP

The crowd scatterss after pedestrians were struck by a vehicle on Red River St. in downtown Austin, Tex., during SXSW.

Two people were killed at the South by Southwest festival in Texas early Thursday after a suspected drunk driver trying to evade cops plowed into a crowd of people on a street, authorities said.

At least 23 others were injured, five critically, after the vehicle smashed through some temporary barricades and into a group outside the Mohawk bar on Red River St. in Austin at 12:30 a.m.

The two people who died were on a moped that was rammed, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters early Thursday.

After striking a taxi and then a parked van, the driver leapt from the silver Toyota and tried to run, but a cop chased him and took him down with a stun gun.

Bystanders react after the collision, which killed two people.

JAY JANNER/AP

Bystanders react after the collision, which killed two people.

The alleged drunk maniac wasn’t immediately identified.

At a press conference early Thursday, Acevedo said he would face capital murder charges for showing “a total disregard for the sanctity of human life.”

The carnage sent waves of panic and grief through the annual music and film festival, once a small showcase for regional bands that has grown into one of the largest events of its kind.

People are treated after being struck.

JAY JANNER/AP

People are treated after being struck.

The 27-year-old event, known as SXSW, began on March 8 and was set to run until March 17.

Red River St. is home to several popular concert venues and clubs, where shows and partying run deep into the night. It has been closed to street traffic at nights and reopened during the mornings.

Before the crash, scores fans prowled the area hopping from club to club, giving the scene a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere.

A victim is transported to an ambulance.

JAY JANNER/AP

A victim is transported to an ambulance.

Many were waiting for a show at the Mohawk by rapper Tyler the Creator. The California punk band X was performing at the club around the time of the crash, according to the club’s tweets. 

Photos and social media posts taken amid the chaos showed several festivalgoers lying bleeding in the street as EMS workers and others who appeared to be bystanders administered CPR and other aid.

Colin Kerrigan, a freelance photographer at the scene, posted two photos showing the glare of ambulance lights and the street littered with debris.

“One moment I’m photographing a magical show, the next I’m photographing a horrible and sad scene,” he wrote on Twitter.

Charli XCX performs the Mohawk club on Monday. The 27th South by Southwest festival was being held in Austin, Tex., this week. 

TIM MOSENFELDER/GETTY IMAGES

Charli XCX performs the Mohawk club on Monday. The 27th South by Southwest festival was being held in Austin, Tex., this week.

Ally Hulton, 28, told the Austin American Statesman she was smoking a cigarette on a balcony when she saw the car barrel into a crowd “at full speed.”

“About 10 bodies went flying,” Hulton said.

Security quickly cordoned off the area, and the injured were loaded into ambulances and taken to area hospitals, including University Medical Center Brackenridge, some 15 minutes away, Acevedo said.

Emergency services personnel bring a victim away from the site of the collision on Red River St.

JAY JANNER/AP

Emergency services personnel bring a victim away from the site of the collision on Red River St.

Acevedo said that the bloody incident began after a cop working a drunk-driving checkpoint tried to pull the driver over on Interstate 35, a block east of Red River St.

Looking to avoid the stop, the man pulled into a Shell gas station, weaved through several cars and then took off the wrong way down E. 9th St. before making a right on Red River St.

He then gunned it through security barricades, narrowly missing a cop standing by, and ran over more than two dozen revelers along the street.
The two people on the scooter were hit about a block north of the Mohawk club, Acevedo said.

 

Festivalgoers are comforted after the incident.

JAY JANNER/AP

Festivalgoers are comforted after the incident.

The driver was facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle, Acevedo said.

The club was closed after the incident, and the Tyler the Creator show was cancelled. It wasn’t clear if it would reopen on Thursday.
Several blocks around the scene were still cordoned off early Thursday and police were continuing to investigate the crash.

Crosses performs onstage at House of Vans during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive at Mohawk Outdoor on Tuesday.

HUTTON SUPANCIC/GETTY IMAGES FOR SXSW

Crosses performs onstage at House of Vans during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive at Mohawk Outdoor on Tuesday.

In a statement, organizers said the festival would go on as planned, but certain venues would be changed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin,” the festival said in a statement.

“We appreciate and commend the first responders, as well as the city agencies who so quickly sprung into action.”

Read more:http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/dead-23-injured-car-plows-crowd-sxsw-texas-article-1.1720095#ixzz2vrYGD1rZ

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