SXSW crash suspect ID'd, vehicle stolen

Rashad Charjuan Owens has been charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  March 13, 2014 at 1:39 PM
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Police identified Rashad Charjuan Owens as the suspected driver who drove through a crowd at the South by Southwest festival in Austin early Thursday, killing two and injuring 23.

Owens, 22, will face two charges of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault, said Police Chief Art Acevedo. Police said Owens was attempting to evade a drunk driving checkpoint, crashing through a barricade on Red River Street and into a group of SXSW festival-goers.

The street, a popular Austin nightlife spot, had been closed to motorists.

Meanwhile, a soldier stationed at Fort Hood said he believes the car Owens drove was his -- and was stolen.

Andrew Barmwell, the soldier, filed a report with Killeen Police late Thursday morning, saying his car had been stolen, said Fort Hood spokesman Tyler Broadway.

The car, a dark Toyota sedan, was heavily damaged in the incident.

Police say Owens drove the car the wrong way down Ninth Street after evading a stop at a gas station, turned onto Red River and drove more than two blocks, striking pedestrians along the way. He hit a scooter on 11th street, killing the Austin woman who was riding it, then hit a taxi and crashed into a parked van.

The other fatality was a man from the Netherlands who had been riding a bicycle. Neither of the victims' names has been released.

By mid-day Thursday, eight of the 23 injured still remained hospitalized. Two people remained in "very critical" condition, three in serious condition and receiving treatment, and three others remain hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries, said James Shamard, chief of staff for Austin-Travis County EMS.

The other 15 people taken to Austin hospitals have been treated and released.

[Austin Statesman] [San Antonio Express] [KCEN]

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