Rashad Charjuan Owens, 22, of Killeen was the male driver responsible for the deaths of two people at the SXSW event in downtown Austin, TX shortly after midnight on March, 12, according to the Statesman on Thursday afternoon.
An Austin woman, riding a moped, was one of the victims fatally wounded when Owens struck her with his vehicle as he fled a potential DWI arrest near the scene of the annual festival being held in the city. The man driving the moped survived, and he is listed in stable condition, according to the Police Chief Art Acevedo.
The other fatal victim that resulted in 23 injuries was a man from the Netherlands, who was riding a bicycle in the vicinity of the festival at the time the youth sought to evade a drunk driving stop and ran through a police barricade.
Rashad Owens drove the wrong way down a one-way street, plowing through as many as 23 other attendees, seriously injuring them after killing two people, which will result in two capital murder charges being filed against him in addition to 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.
One victim had a spinal fracture, two had serious head injuries requiring intensive care and other special hospital services, while lesser head injuries were experienced by other victims during the SXSW drunk driving incident. All in all, the suspect in the case has ignited another passionate look at DWI laws and the need for significant drunk driving sentences to prevent repeat offenses by those who take the lives of others into their hands by driving while drunk.
But the large-scale nightclub hopping event that was the scene of the carnage on Wednesday night might need to rethink the potential for a recurrence of this type of crime in light of the fact that revelers are going to need to get home somehow after becoming too intoxicated to drive. And road blocks set up to catch them might not be the best solution to that problem; not encouraging excessive drinking in the first place might be a better way to deal with this problem. Just ask MADD.
The Atlanta Crime Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics. And she has lost a loved one to someone driving while under the influence.