Third Person Dies in South by Southwest Tragedy
Another year of Austin’s South by Southwest festival is in the books, but this one will be overshadowed by a tragic incident. A spokesperson for the Austin Police Department has confirmed that a third person has now died as a result of injuries suffered when a car plowed into a crowd of people gathered outside a venue at the South by Southwest festival.
According to Rolling Stone, Sandy Thuy Le, 26, was pronounced dead Sunday night (March 16) after being struck by a car early Thursday morning. Police arrested 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens, who was actually in town to perform, and charged him with two counts of capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault. With the death of Le, it is not known as of yet if those charges will be amended, but the Austin Police Department told Rolling Stone that the “whole case will be presented to a Travis County Grand Jury,” who will then decide if any other charges are to be added.
Jamie West, 27, of Austin, and Steven Craenmehr, 35, of Amsterdam, were killed the night of the incident. In addition to the three deaths, 22 others were injured in the car crash. Five people were reportedly still hospitalized on Monday as a result of the incident.
In an interview with Austin station KVUE, Chief of Police Art Acevedo stated that Owens’ actions were “intentional,” and revealed that the vehicle involved in the incident had been stolen. “We do these events very well,” said Acevedo. “But you cannot stop a person who decides, rather than face potential drunk driving charges, to continue 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.”