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SXSW Festival marred by tragedy as accident claims lives

Barricades up as the crime scene at the SXSW event is examined
Barricades up as the crime scene at the SXSW event is examined
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Tragedy struck the normally pleasant SXSW event in Austin, TX early this morning when a drunk driver went off the road, plowing through barriers before barreling straight into a crowd of people. Two were killed and twenty-five other hurt by the incident, ten of which are still in the hospital and five with life-threatening injuries.

The suspect has been identified as twenty-one year old Rashad Charjuan Owens. Austin Police said he was pulled over at a gas station prior to the incident because they suspected him of driving under the influence of alcohol. He sped off before officers had a chance to approach the car, down 9th Street and on to Red River Street. It was then that Owens' car careened into the crowd, a line of concertgoers waiting to see Tyler, The Creator perform at a local bar. From there suspect continued down Red River Street, crossing 10th Street and striking bicyclist Steven Craenmehr and two other people riding on a MoPed. Craenmehr was pronounced dead on scene, as well as a woman who was on the MoPed. The other passenger, a man, is still hospitalized. Both the man and the woman's names have not been released yet.

Owens will be charged with two counts of capital murder and various other counts of aggravated assault. This is not his first DUI offense as he was arrested in Alaska in 2011 for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. He has an open warrant for his arrest in that state. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said he sees the incident as an "intentional act" at a press conference this afternoon. Acevedo also emphasized that SXSW should carry on with it's scheduled performances and that a cancellation of the festival would be a "win for evil". Coordinators announced that it will go on as planned, with exception to events that are located in crime scene areas. SXSW director Roland Swenson said this is the first time there has ever been a death in the festival's history.