Click photo to enlarge
People carry a person who was struck by a car on Red River Street in downtown Austin, Texas, at South By Southwest early Thursday. Police say a man and woman have been killed after a suspected drunken driver fleeing from arrest crashed through barricades set up for the South By Southwest festival and struck the pair and others on a crowded street.

A man and woman were killed early Thursday after a suspected drunken driver fleeing from arrest crashed through barricades set up for the South By Southwest festival and struck the pair and others on a crowded street, police said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said 23 others were injured, five critically, in the crash that happened around 12:30 a.m. as the driver tried to evade a pursuing police officer. The two people who died were on a moped that the motorist hit. The chief said the man also hit pedestrians in front of a club that was emptying.

Acevedo told reporters during a news conference that the driver also struck a cab before crashing, jumping out of his car and trying to run. A pursuing officer shocked him with a stun gun and took him into custody.

Bystanders assist first responders at the SXSW festival early Thursday morning where 2 people died and dozens more were injured in a hit and run.
Bystanders assist first responders at the SXSW festival early Thursday morning where 2 people died and dozens more were injured in a hit and run. (Colin Kerrigan/AP)

The man, whose name was not released, faces two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

The accident stunned revelers at the annual music, film and interactive conference that draws tens of thousands to Austin each year. Many were getting real-time reports from social media.

Acevedo did not identify the driver or the victims.

“We do these events very well, 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,” Acevedo said.



Advertisement