SXSW Drunk Driving Crash Takes a Third Victim
A spokesperson for the Austin Police Department confirms that Sandy Thuy Le has passed away as a result of injuries sustained in the incident, which killed two additional people and injured more than 20 others.
According to Rolling Stone, the 26-year-old Mississippi native had been hospitalized at University Medical Center Brackenridge in critical condition. Le was pronounced dead on Sunday (March 16).
Authorities have identified the driver of the car as 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens. He was allegedly driving the wrong direction on a one-way street prior to the accident. When authorities attempted to stop him, he drove off, narrowly avoiding hitting an officer. The car then ran into the crowd.
Owens is already facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle. It has not yet been determined whether he will face an additional count of murder in Le’s death. “The whole case will be presented to a Travis County Grand Jury and they will determine what, if any, other charges will be added,” a spokesperson for the Austin Police Department states.
Rolling Stone reports that Owens has been convicted of numerous offenses in recent years, ranging from being a minor under the influence to criminal trespass. He pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Alaska in 2011. The Toyota Owens was driving at the time of the fatal accident was reportedly stolen.
Austin Chief of Police called Owens’ actions “intentional,” stating, “We do these events very well. But you cannot stop a person who decides, rather than face potential drunk driving charges, to continue at a high rate of speed, go around a uniformed officer forcing him to run out of the way, then at a high rate of speed show total disregard for the sanctity of human life.”