Suspected Drunk Driver Plows Through Street at SXSW, Killing Two and Injuring 23

Categories: Festivals

rsz_20140312_194930.jpg
A shot of the line for the Mohawk earlier in the day on Wednesday.
Updated at 7 a.m. Vanessa Quilantan contributed reporting.

Two people were killed and 23 injured early this morning when a suspected drunk driver, speeding away from police after an attempted DWI stop, plowed through an Austin street crowded with SXSW partygoers.

At a 2:30 a.m. press conference, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters that the incident started with a 12:30 a.m. traffic stop at a gas station on 9th Street. The suspect, described by Acevedo as a lone black male, was pulled over in a grey sedan on suspicion of DWI.

In an attempt to evade police, the suspect accelerated against traffic down one-way 9th Street, and turned on Red River. He struck two adults on a moped and a taxi cab, and injured 23 people total before attempting to flee on foot. Officers had to tase the suspect in order to take him into custody, Acevedo said.

Two victims were pronounced dead, he said, while five remained in critical condition. One victim was resuscitated with CPR on the scene. The suspect will face two charges of capital murder and 23 charges of aggravated assault with a vehicle, Acevedo said. Neither the suspect nor any victims were identified.

Standing outside the Mohawk earlier, in line to see an earlier section of the Vans showcase outside which the tragedy occurred, it was obvious that the street was not only closed but well stocked with volunteers and staff just there to help. The atmosphere of SXSW is one of camaraderie -- one where a stranger can make fast friends with another stranger while standing in one of the lines that characterize the festival.

But the scene described by the Austin American Statesman in the hour after the accident was something much different: littered with shoes, clothes and debris, injured people being tended to, witnesses struggling to believe what they'd seen.

"I was thrown up in the sky," one musician told the paper, as friends tended to his leg. Another witness said she watched the scene unfold from a balcony on Red River. "About 10 bodies went flying," she said.


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39 comments
alexak.yan
alexak.yan

my Aunty Kaylee recently got a nearly new blue Volkswagen Routan by working part time off of a macbook. see this B­a­r­2­9.­C­O­M­

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

This was not a "tragedy".  The word is totally overblown.  9/11 was a tragedy.  The tsumani was a tragedy.  The space shuttle explosions were tragedies.  This was not.

anon1
anon1

does it matter the age ethnicity legal status?? no what matters is that he is behind bars and is where he should stay for driving in the condition he was in.

pak152
pak152

how about a little bit more information about the perp. age? ethnicity? legal? illegal? insurance?

marcallanfeldman
marcallanfeldman

I hope that the police behavior is investigated.  It seems from this article that the deaths and injuries were totally unnecessary.  Chasing a suspected impaired driver though a populated area makes no sense.  Call for back-up, establish a perimeter, and stop the driver safely.  Hopefully we can prevent such incidents in the future.

boogerleo
boogerleo

Just execute this guy now! What a waste of a person! Capital murder is too easy - will be a waste of tax payer $$ and time!

EdD.
EdD.

At least they have this guy in custody. Thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families. Special thanks to the medical first responders.

dallassinglemom
dallassinglemom

I'm here now covering some of the event and I wasn't quite sure what was going on but they had cut some of the shows short and blockaded large tracts of 6th street. It's very sad indeed. Prayers to the victims, the victims families, the first responders and all those involved in SXSW. You wrote a great piece and thanks for the updates. 

janerleblanc
janerleblanc

It's so sad. :( If you are at SXSW - please let your friends and family know you are ok.

anon
anon

@pak152 None of that is relevant... They have him and he is being charged. Insurance is relevant to those injured, not the public. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@pak152  "The suspect, described by Acevedo as a lone black male"  seems to answer 3 of your questions

jenniferinc
jenniferinc

@marcallanfeldmanthey pulled the guy over at a gas station off a frontage road and he pretended he was stopping, then sped up and took an immediate turn the wrong way down a one-way side street.  It was about a two block trip from the gas station to where he started hitting people - and all the damage had been done by the time the police got there.  This entire scene unfolded from initial DUI stop to the suspect being in handcuffs in probably less than one minute.

boogerleo
boogerleo

Oh sure - this guy was a saint. Lets investigatge the authorities! BS

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@bvckvs "Absolutes are always wrong."


Except when you spout "Christians are evil," or "Republicans are stupid" every other day, right Becky?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bvckvs  predictable and dumb, every single time you post.  

joel.mark.lee
joel.mark.lee

@bvckvs  What a dumb, insensitive thing to say.  The next time we want to predict that a drunk driver will try to outrun police and plow through a crowded street, we'll give you a call.

marcallanfeldman
marcallanfeldman

Prevent drunk drivers from fleeing from police and crashing by following police procedures: 

According to the Dallas Police Department at:

http://www.dallascityhall.com/committee_briefings/briefings0910/PS_DPD-PursuitOverview_090710.pdf
– General Order 906.01 B., states “protection of human life is a
primary goal of the police department;

– Initiating or participating in a vehicular pursuit presents a danger
to the officers involved, the suspect, and the general public.

– Accordingly, the decision to initiate a pursuit must be based on
the pursuing officer’s conclusion that the immediate danger to
the officer, public and suspect created by the pursuit is less than
the immediate or potential danger to the public should the
suspect remain at large.

Between 2004 and 2005, there were 715 pursuits, 35% for traffic violations.  About 1 out of 4 pursuits ended in a crash. 185 police officers, citizens, and suspects were injured or died.

spud503
spud503

@joel.mark.lee  since it happens in AUSTIN nearly every week. Trust me, I've almost been hit at least 4 times solid on 6th - 9th by them.

marcallanfeldman
marcallanfeldman

@nataliehogan21  No, the police should not pursue him so that he will continue driving drunk until he gets home and not killing anybody.  Then arrest him at his house.  It is not nearly as dramatic, but much safer.

nataliehogan21
nataliehogan21

So u sugest the police just let him go, do nothing so he can continue driving drunk and killing people?

marcallanfeldman
marcallanfeldman

@ScottsMerkin.  I am not a lawyer.   I do not defend drunk drivers who put the public at risk.  I also do not defend police officers who put the public at risk. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@marcallanfeldman  are you intentionally being ignorant?  A Drunk man fled from police in a parking lot, the wrong way down a street and then through barricades to evade the police.  The stop was attempted in a parking lot, which he drove out of (evading police).  


If this is your defense while representing clients in a court, Id imagine a 100% conviction rate of said clients

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@marcallanfeldman  

According to reports I've heard, the entire incident lasted less than one minute. 12:30 reported, people flying into the air at 12:31.

I am no fan of the police in general, but that timeline seems to imply that the suspect saw the lights and then ran. This was not some high-speed chase across the city. Just a drunken dumbass with no regard for anyone but himself.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@marcallanfeldman   Are you a defense lawyer fishing for business?  Trying to redirect the blame to the police is amazing.


marcallanfeldman
marcallanfeldman

Why do you say that he was not pursued?  According to the article, "In an attempt to evade police, the suspect accelerated against traffic".  Sounds to me that police were pursuing him, which, if true, was a bad idea. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@marcallanfeldman  um, you realize they lit him up in a gas station parking lot and he took off the wrong way down a one way street and then turned on a closed street.  The cops didnt chase him forcing him down those streets, he took off.  

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@bvckvs @joel.mark.lee Still a massive cheap shot and yes, dumb.  Again - what do you suggest Mr Knowitall.  More barricades  More police    Or just blame Republicans like you usually do

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@bvckvs @Sotiredofitall  I edited the story into its current form and didn't really have an issue with the line. I just wanted to take a different tack with the story. I understand where you're coming from, though.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@bvckvs pedantic (adjective)  1.ostentatious in one's learning.  2.overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, 

especially in teaching.

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