Texans have by now seen continual media coverage of the horrific series of pedestrian collisions at the South By Southwest festival in Austin. As of March 17, three people had died as a result of the incident, and 22 others were injured, some of them critically.
A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with numerous counts of murder and aggravated assault. Witnesses and police say he drove through barricades and into crowds of festival goers. Video from a police cruiser apparently shows the driver accelerating as he approached groups of pedestrians.
According to the driver’s arrest warrant, at 12:30 a.m. a police officer cruising the area observed the man driving a car with the headlights off. The officer attempted to pull over the vehicle, but the driver fled the scene and barreled through a barricade set up for the festival.
The driver later told police that he panicked when he saw the patrol car’s lights. There was reportedly a warrant out for his arrest.
After he was taken into custody, police administered a blood-alcohol test, which returned a reading of 0.114 percent, well over the legal limit to drive.
The families of the deceased and the surviving victims are undoubtedly looking for answers and justice. Such senseless tragedies seem to spill the banks of reason, and often families have to take legal action beyond criminal court to see justice fully served. In these cases, a claim of wrongful death can be brought in addition to any criminal charges against a wrongdoer.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Third death in SXSW crash as victim dies in hospital,” March 17, 2014