'Bodies Went Flying' As Car Tore Through Crowd At SXSW | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

'Bodies Went Flying' As Car Tore Through Crowd At SXSW

This post has been updated. Click here to jump to that news.

Revelry turned to horror early Thursday "after a car plowed through South by Southwest crowds in Downtown Austin," KUT reports.

The Austin American-Statesman describes what happened this way:

"A driver attempting to evade a drunk driving stop hurtled past a barricade on Red River Street and plowed through dozens of SXSW revelers, killing two and injuring 23 in a horrific scene early Thursday morning, police said. The street, home to many popular clubs hosting South by Southwest music showcases, had been closed to motorists and was crowded with music fans waiting to get into the Mohawk nightclub.

"According to police, the man, driving a small Toyota car, went the wrong way down Ninth Street after evading a stop at a gas station around 12:30 a.m., turned onto Red River and drove for more than two blocks, striking numerous pedestrians before hitting a scooter traveling on 11th Street, killing the man and woman on board. The driver then struck a taxi, injuring two, and crashed into a parked van, Police Chief Art Acevedo said."

Police on the scene used a stun gun to subdue the man, whom they have yet to identify. According to KUT, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo "told reporters the suspect will be charged with capital murder."

The American-Statesman adds that:

"Ally Hulton, a 28-year-old from Los Angeles, was smoking a cigarette on the balcony of her friend's apartment on Red River when she saw a car drive down the street 'at full speed' before hitting someone.

"It then appeared to accelerate into a crowd of people, she said. 'About 10 bodies went flying,' Hulton said."

KUT has posted several photos taken at the scene and writes that "Austin police ask videos and photos of the incident be turned over at the following number: (512) 974-5186. As the event happened at one of the U.S.'s premiere media events, many images are available on social media."

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. More Details.

At a news conference moments ago, Police Chief Acevedo said:

-- The suspect "faces two counts of capital murder ... and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle." He did not name the suspect, who he said "has been booked" but not yet formally charged and will be named once the charges have been filed.

-- It's been determined that one of the persons killed was a woman from the Austin area who was a passenger on a moped. The other person who died was a man from the Netherlands who was riding a bicycle. Earlier, it was reported that both people who died had been riding the moped. We've struck through that line in the post above.

-- He supports the decision by SXSW organizers to go on with the festival today. "We cannot allow one individual ... to ruin a worldwide event," the chief said.

-- The incident began when an officer in a patrol car signaled to the suspect to pull over. The suspect, "feinting as if he was going to yield," pulled into a gas station parking lot. Then, he accelerated back onto a street and drove off at a high rate of speed — through a traffic barrier.

Also at the news conference, emergency medical services Chief James Shamard said:

-- The two people who were killed were pronounced dead at the scene.

-- Of the 23 people who were injured: 2 are still in very critical condition at a local hospital; 3 are in serious condition; 3 others are still hospitalized with "nonlife-threatening injuries"; and the 15 others were transported to hospitals, treated for their injuries and later released.

Roland Swenson, SXSW's managing director, told reporters that "as much as we would just like to go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to just continue operating today. ... We all feel some obligation to all of the people who have traveled here from all over the world."

Return to the top of this post.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, June 30, 2015

You can use your imagination to place yourself at a Grateful Dead concert or at a 1930s-era circus.

NPR

Why You Should Thank A Caterpillar For Your Mustard And Wasabi

Eons ago, cabbage butterfly larvae and the plants they eat began an evolutionary arms race. The result: "mustard oil bombs" that give the plants, and condiments we make from them, distinctive flavors.

WAMU 88.5

Financial Trouble In Puerto Rico And Greece

Puerto Rico's governor says the U.S. territory cannot pay its billions in debt. Like Greece, it faces a long road to stability. A look at the fundamental economic problems in Puerto Rico and Greece, and how they could affect economies in the U.S. and across the world.

WAMU 88.5

Pop Culture Trends in Video Gaming

More women on screen and more exploration are among the trends in video gaming this year. Tech Tuesday explores how pop culture and new technology are changing the gaming experience.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.