A day after Rashad Charjuan Owens barreled into a group of people at the South By Southwest festival on March 13, killing two and injuring 23, the drunk driver suspect was charged on one count of capital murder. And the charges may keep coming.
The Austin, Tex. community is still reeling after an intoxicated driver drove through barricades at South By Southwest on March 13, killing two and injuring 23, while trying to evade police. And a day after the shocking tragedy, the suspect Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, was charged on one count of capital murder, according to USA Today. The charge is likely the first of many for the man who actually accelerated towards SXSW festival-goers.
Rashad Charjuan Owens Charged With Murder In SXSW Car Crash
Rashad, whose blood-alcohol content was an astonishing .114 (legal limit is .08), is definitely going to pay for his ill-advised joy ride. Besides the capital murder charge, the driver could face additional counts, which wouldn’t be surprising considering the extensive damage he caused.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo stated that Rashad intentionally steered towards the group of pedestrians in hopes of avoiding an officer who was trying to pull him over. Because he killed two people and injured so many others, Acevedo stated that the 21-year-old could face an additional capital murder charge, as well as up to 23 counts of aggravated assault.
Rashad remains in police custody — his bail is set at $3 million.
The suspect said that he was afraid of being pulled over because he had outstanding warrants that could have put him in prison for five years, according to the arrest warrant. He is reportedly facing kidnapping warrants issued as part of a custody battle over his daughter.
SXSW Car Accident: A Bloody Scene In Austin
It was a terrifying scene at SXSW when the drunk driver barreled into the festival, where a show had just gotten out.
Plowing into the crowd of concertgoers, Rashad first struck a man from the Netherlands who was on a bicycle. He then hit an Austin woman who was on a moped before crashing into a taxi and a parked van, getting out of his car and trying to run away from police. Authorities were able to catch him and subdue him with a stun gun.
Wow. There isn’t much else to say about this unexpected tragedy, but at least it appears that the man responsible will be punished sufficiently. Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by this gruesome accident.
— Andrew Gruttadaro