2 Dead at SXSW

Two dead, more than 20 injured following tragic accident.

[Photo by Rachel McFarland]

A tragic night for the festival.

Wednesday night, right after midnight, people were in the street, talking and enjoying the live music of SXSW on Red River Street in Austin, TX when a drunk driver plowed into the crowd, mowing over the barricades, and critically injuring several people.

It all began when the driver was driving the wrong direction on a one-way street. Police attempted to pull him over but the driver evaded the police. Due to the heavy crowds, police had a hard time keeping up with him. The driver accelerated right through the crowd, striking several bystanders. Two people were killed, five critically injured and 20 hospitalized. The driver got out of the car and made a run for it but was ultimately caught by police.

The Austin police have identified the suspect as 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan.  “The suspect faces capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle,” a police spokesman stated.

South by Southwest is an annual event that features music, film, and interactive experiences and attracts thousands of people every year. In a statement on its website, SXSW organizers commended the first-responders and city agencies that assisted them. “We will be making schedule and venue changes for programming in the surrounding area of last night’s events. All other programming will continue as previously scheduled.” the statement said.