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Trial Scheduled for Man Involved in Fatal SXSW Accident

Alexandrea Messner1 year ago

A man, who plowed into a crowd of people at the South by Southwest while attempting to evade police last year, is finally being brought to trial.

Details of the Fatal Austin Accident and Trial

The accident killed four people and injured nearly two dozen more. The suspect, Rashad Owens, 23, is facing 26 charges including capital murder, which could result in the death penalty. Jury selection started on Monday, and the trial is expected to start next week at a court in Austin, Texas.

According to police, Owens fled from a sobriety check point, smashing through the police barricade and mowing down people across several city blocks. Austin Police Chief, Art Acevedo, said of the suspect, “this is an individual that showed no regard for the human beings that he plowed into in his attempt to get away.”

The victims who were killed include Jamie West, 27, Steven Craenmehr, 35, Sandy Thuy Le, 26, and DeAndre Tatum, 18. Nearly two dozen more people were injured as well.

Owens' attorney, Rickey Jones, claims that Owens feels sorry for his actions, “he does have a lot of remorse.”

Texas Auto Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):

  • 3,534 people were killed in auto accidents in Texas in 2014 – this marked a 3.7-percent increase over the 3,408 deaths in 2013.
  • Pedestrian deaths accounted for 486 of the 2014 fatalities.
  • Alcohol was determined to be a factor in 1,041 traffic fatalities in 2014 – 29 percent of all traffic fatalities recorded.
  • An additional 237,941 people were injured in auto accidents in 2014 with 17,152 people sustaining incapacitating injuries.

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