21-Year-Old Driver ID'd in SXSW Car Fatalities
Rashad Owens faces death penalty
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2014 2:23 PM CDT
People are treated after being struck by a vehicle on Red River Street in downtown Austin.   (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)

(Newser) – The driver accused of plowing into a crowd at the South by Southwest Festival, killing two and injuring 23 others, has been identified as 21-year-old Rashad Owens of Killeen, Texas, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Police say the tragedy began about 12:30am when an officer tried to pull over Owens for suspected drunken driving. Owens pulled into a gas station parking lot, then gunned it the wrong way down a one-way street, say police. He eventually turned onto Red River Street, crashed through a barricade and struck festivalgoers, say authorities. Killed were Steven Craenmehr, who was riding a bike, and an Austin woman who was riding a moped. She hasn't been identified. Craenmehr worked for Amsterdam's MassiveMusic.

Because he is charged with capital murder, Owens faces the death penalty. “That vehicle was used as a weapon, and he will be charged with those crimes,” says Austin's police chief. Two people remain in critical condition with head injuries, and six others are still in the hospital with lesser injuries. A soldier at Fort Hood, meanwhile, has reported that his car was stolen, and it appears to be the vehicle driven by Owens, reports MySanAntonio.com. Owens himself is not a Fort Hood soldier. In 2011, he was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident in Fairbanks, Alaska, reports a separate American-Statesman story.

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Showing 3 of 104 comments
RLM357
Mar 14, 2014 1:06 AM CDT
It is a shame to feel this way but was he a Muslim? It seems whenevfer any wacky thing happens like this , the6y are involved somehow. CAIR= GFY ! ~Rick Magee, "MOLON LABE"
OrneryPup
Mar 14, 2014 12:12 AM CDT
A horendous nightmare for the victims and their families. I wish them peace and healing. Without sympathy for the perp, I am saddened to see a young man destroy his own life. 21 years old, the threshold of what COULD have been a long well spent life. He is now doomed. No one to blame but himself.
alabamasummer
Mar 13, 2014 11:12 PM CDT
To bad Rashad Owens wasn't shot dead before his car mowed down any of those people. Whenever a cop is threated by a car being driven at them with intent to kill them, the cop will draw down on the driver and shoot to kill. True the guy deserves to die, but killing him before his driving murdered people would have been a productive and righteous killing. Now the blood lust is for revenge and preventing this scum bag from ever having the opportunity to hurt anyone ever again. Better late then never! Oh and by the way the guy is black! How many of his victims are white! I would call that a hate crime of a black man. The knock out game using a car?