One festival that the close city of Austin is known for is South by Southwest (SXSW). During this festival, thousands of people flood the streets of downtown Austin to attend events that are centered around interactive, music and film. Festival goers usually get to enjoy free concerts, food and alcoholic beverages during this week of fun, but this year something unexpected happened. A drunk driver put a damper on the festival fun on early Thursday morning when he killed two and injured 23 individuals. This tragedy is still affecting the city of Austin as well as the state of Texas.
THE DRIVER AT FAULT
The man, who chose to negligently drive under the influence of alcohol, is Roshad Charjuan Owens, 21, of Killeen, Texas. The city of Killeen is just a few miles outside of the Austin city limits. Police say that Owens realized that an officer was trying to pull his 2012 Honda Civic over for suspected drunk driving and immediately attempted to flee the scene. Owns is said to have several outstanding warrants for his arrest, as well as a previous drunk driving charge in his past. After this incident Owen had a blood alcohol content of .114 when the Texas law permits no one to drive if they are over a .08.
Owens is now facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault while using a vehicle. He will most likely face more charges in the future. Owens remains in the custody of the police and his bail has been set at $3 million. As of now, there has been no attorney listed for Owens.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning during the SXSW festival on the intersection of E. 10th and Red River Street. The police had set up a checkpoint to monitor the area for drunk driving due to the nature of the festival. Owens saw the checkpoint and immediately fled the scene as soon as he saw the police lights. He then sped through a Shell parking lot and turned onto 9th street. He proceeding to drive down 9th against the flow of traffic. 9th is a one way street. Owens then crashed through a police barrier that was meant to block off the area for the House of Vans Show at the Mohawk venue downtown. He then proceeded to intentionally drive into a large crowd of people that were gathering for the event.
Austin Police Chief, Art Acevedo has said that after the incident where Owens crashed into the group of concertgoers, he crashed his vehicle and then proceeded to flee the police on foot. He was eventually tazed by a stun gun by the police, before he was detained and taken into custody, where he still remains.
The police had recently cleared the street, and pushed most of the event goers on to the sidewalk, to clear a fire lane. If they had not cleared the intersection that this incident occurred on, it is likely that more than 25 individuals would have been severely injured or killed.
The APD are asking for help in gathering information on the SXSW crash and are asking any eye-witnesses to step forward. Video or photographic evidence will be greatly appreciated. Any information at all can help the situation. This drunk driver needs to pay for his actions.
If you or a family member has been injured in this tragedy, or a similar incident involving a negligent or drunk driver, contact the Kyle Law firm today. We will fight for your rights, or the rights of a loved one, in order to get what you rightfully deserve.