The annual South by Southwest music, film, and technology festival in Austin turned tragic last night when a suspected drunk driver fleeing a traffic stop plowed through a crowd around 12:30 a.m., injuring 23 people, five critically, and leaving two people dead. According to Austin police, the driver crashed through a barricade blocking a street littered with people, striking pedestrians in front of an emptying club before hitting a moped and killing both aboard. The vehicle then crashed into a cab and the driver took off on foot, the AP reports, but was eventually arrested with the help of a stun gun.
He faces 23 counts of aggravated assault and two counts of capital murder, potentially punishable by death.
Footage from the terrible scene has been reported across social media, including YouTube and Twitter:
The Mohawk, a club on Red River Street, where the accident occurred, was hosting events for Spin magazine:
Red River between 9th and 10th now pic.twitter.com/Gvt8m8N0ow— SPIN (@SPINmagazine) March 13, 2014
“We do these events very well,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, “but you cannot stop a person who rather than face drunk driving charges decides to speed 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.”
One moment I'm photographing a magical show the next, I'm photographing a horrible and sad scene. #sxsw— Colin Kerrigan (@colinkerrigan) March 13, 2014