Third Person Dies in SXSW Hit-and-Run
A spokesperson for Austin Police Department has confirmed that a third person has died in last week’s tragic hit-and-run at South by Southwest that killed two people and injured 23 others.
Sandy Thuy Le, 26, was pronounced dead Sunday night after being struck by a car Thursday morning. Police arrested 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens on Friday, charging him with two counts of capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault. Asked if Owens will now be charged with three counts of murder, a spokesperson for Austin Police Department told Rolling Stone, “The whole case will be presented to a Travis County Grand Jury and they will determine what, if any, other charges will be added.”
Le was a Mississippi native who had apparently moved to Austin to go to school, according to Dallas News. She had been hospitalized at University Medical Center Brackenridge in critical condition since Thursday.
As of Monday, five people were still hospitalized as a result of the incident. An Austin Police Department statement listed the age ranges of those hospitalized as between 17 and 39 years old.
Last week, Austin Chief of Police Art Acevedo said that Owens’ actions were “intentional,” with Austin news station KVUE reporting that the Toyota Owens was driving at the time of the incident was stolen.
“We do these events very well,” Acevedo added. “But you cannot stop a person who decides, rather than face potential drunk driving charges, to continue 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.”
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Records show that Owens had been convicted numerous times in recent years, including offenses for minor under the influence and criminal trespass. In 2010, Owens was arrested by the Killeen school district Police Department for criminal trespass. While living in Alaska in 2011, Owens was arrested for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. He pleaded guilty to the DUI charge, but prosecutors dismissed the fleeing offense.
SXSW organizes decided to continue the festival as planned. “Despite all of our preparations for dealing with a major incident during SXSW, nothing could really prepare us for how this feels,” SXSW Managing Director Roland Swenson said in a statement. “As much as we would like to just go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue to operate today.”