Suspected Drunk Driver Kills Two, Injures 23 at SXSW Festival | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Suspected Drunk Driver Kills Two, Injures 23 at SXSW Festival

Rashad Charjuan Owens evaded a police checkpoint and sped down a street crowded with festival revelers.


Scene of the crime. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman


| Share

A tragic hit-and-run accident involving a suspected drunk driver has killed two people and injured 23 others during the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX.

The driver has been identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens, whom police say evaded a sobriety checkpoint and smashed through a police barricade. While speeding away from a police car, he plowed into a crowd of people standing outside of a nightclub while still driving at high speeds, then struck a taxi and crashed into a parked van. Owens tried to flee the scene on foot, but was eventually subdued by an officer with a stun gun.

"This is an individual that showed no regard for the human beings that he plowed into in his attempt to get away," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “We owe it to the victims and their families to gather the evidence we need to bring them justice.” Owens will eventually face two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

Five of the 23 victims are currently listed as being in critical condition, while another five are listed as being in serious condition. Owens also had minor injuries and was treated at the same hospital as many of the victims before being taken into police custody. “It looked like something out of a movie...I’ve never seen nothing like it,” said a witness to CNN. "I felt like I was at a war or something. We was down here for the music...we were having the best time ever. And then it turned into the worst thing I've ever seen."

Despite the tragic incident, arrests during the SXSW festival have been declining in recent years. The Austin Police Department reported 126 arrests made downtown during the festival in 2013, a 40 percent drop from the 224 downtown arrests during the 2012 festival.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Suboxone: Trading One Prison Cell for Another

Suboxone seemed like a get-out-of-jail-free card, the answer to my opiate addiction. Instead, I had a new ten-year addiction, complete with thinning hair and lost motivation.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv