SXSW car crash claims fourth life

BY Joshua Barajas  March 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM EST

Updated 5:00 p.m. EDT, March 27 A fourth victim has died from injuries sustained from the March 13 car crash that occurred during the South by Southwest festival, KXAN reports. The victim was 18-year-old DeAndre Tatum, who was in critical condition since the crash.

Updated 12:15 p.m. EDT, March 17 Austin’s KVUE reports that a third victim has died Monday from injuries sustained from a crash early Thursday morning that left two dead and 22 others injured.

Sandy Le, who was in critical condition, was struck by a car driven by 21-year-old Rashad Owens, who, suspected of drunk driving, raced down streets that were blocked off for the South by Southwest festival.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that seven of the 22 injured charged Owens with capital murder Friday for the deaths of Jamie West, 27, and Steven Craenmehr, 35.

Updated 2:40 p.m., March 13 | Although Austin police did not release any of the victims’ names in this morning’s news conference, one of the two fatalities of the SXSW crash has been identified as 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr. His employer, MassiveMusic, updated their website and Facebook page Thursday with the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our close friend and colleague Steven Craenmehr, 35, on March 13th, 2014 at SXSW. During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter. This is an irreplaceable loss for the MassiveMusic family and we are grateful for the years we spent with him. Our thoughts are with Steven’s family and friends.”

Craenmehr was the creative director for MassiveMusic, a music agency founded in Amsterdam. Police Chief Art Acevedo said Thursday morning that a male cyclist was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Austin American-Statesman also confirmed the identity of the suspect as 22-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens of Killeen, Texas.

Original story, published 12:52 p.m.: A suspected drunk driver killed at least two people and injured 23 others early Thursday morning when he evaded a traffic stop and plowed through barricades set up for the South by Southwest festival, the Austin Police Department said.

The man, whose name has not been released, fled from an Austin, Texas, police officer on DWI duty around 12:30 a.m., Police Chief Art Acevedo said. After feigning a stop at a Shell Gas Station, the driver fled and drove against traffic on a one-way street, where he struck numerous pedestrians, including a cyclist from the Netherlands who was pronounced dead at the scene. Most of the victims are in their 20s, Austin-American Statesman reported.

The driver then overwhelmed the barricades at Red River Street, where he crashed into a man and woman aboard a moped. The woman, an Austinite, was pronounced dead, and the man is in stable condition, Acevedo said in a news conference Thursday morning. Initial reports said both had been killed.

After hitting a taxi and a parked van, the man fled on foot before APD stunned him with a Taser gun. Five of the 23 injured remain in critical condition. They were transported to a nearby hospital within 15 minutes of the incident.

The suspect faces two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. Acevedo said formal charges will come this afternoon.

SXSW organizers issued a statement Thursday: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin.”

During the news conference, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said that SXSW is a long-time event and that this is the first time in 27 years that the city has seen something like this.