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APD Police Chief Art Acevedo at a press conference Thursday morning addressing the car incident from the night before that left two people dead and 23 injured at the intersection of Red River and 9th streets amid SXSW activities.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

Updated (Friday, 7:15 p.m.): Travis County district judges issued a formal arrest warrant Friday afternoon for 21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens, who has been accused of driving his car through a crowded area of downtown during SXSW activities, killing two people and injuring 23 others. Owens was charged with one count of capital murder and bond has been set at $3 million.


The booking photo of Rashad Charjuan Owens, who was formally charged with capital murder Friday afternoon. Courtesy of Austin Police Department.

Initially, APD Police Chief Art Acevedo said Owens would be charged with two counts of capital murder, which is a felony, and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. So far, no other charges have been filed.

Earlier Friday, police officers released a statement clarifying that in Texas, capital murder is defined as two or more deaths in the same “criminal transaction.”

According to the police affidavit, Owens attempted to evade police because there were other warrants out for his arrest.

“Owens … said that he got scared because he has warrants and didn’t want to go to jail for 5 years for something he didn’t do,” the affidavit said. “Owens said that he has Kidnapping warrants and explained that he was part of a custody battle for his daughter.”

The affidavit describes a violent, chaotic crime scene.

“Victims were reported to have been flying everywhere as they were being struck by the Honda,” the affidavit said.

Updated (Thursday, 8:52 p.m.): Christopher Ziebell, emergency department director of University Medical Center-Brackenridge, said Thursday night that he was concerned about the recovery prospects for the most critically injured victims of the SXSW crash.

“The two most critical patients, I have a great deal of concern and worry about,” Ziebell said at a press conference. “We’re going to do our best for them, but these are some of the worst injuries that we see, and not everybody with these kind of injuries is going to survive.”

Seven of the 23 people injured in the crash were taken to the medical center from the scene. An eighth person came to Brackenridge from another hospital after the person's injuries proved more serious than doctors initially realized, Ziebell said.

The two individuals who died were 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr and 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West. West's husband, Evan West, is among those who were injured and transported to the hospital.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Reverends Katie Wright and Bob Gribble of St. David’s Episcopal Church hosted a vigil for the crash victims, with about 30 people in attendance.


A woman attends a vigil held for the SXSW crash victims at St. David's Episcopal Church on Thursday. Photo by Shweta Gulati / Daily Texan Staff

Michelle Marshall, a SXSW attendee from Austin, said she was disturbed by the unexpected crash.

“I come every year and this accident just kind of put a damper on the whole weekend — I felt like I needed to pay my respects,” Marshall said. “There’s just a very reverent feeling in town now.”

In an address, Wright said she hopes the community can reflect on the tragedy, while also appreciate the positive aspects of the festival.

“Let us remember those who have died, and let God accept our prayers on behalf of the servants who died last night,” Wright said. “Let us remember these artists and patrons, as well as our city.”

Updated (Thursday, 1:40 p.m.): Austin police officials have named 21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens as the driver who allegedly struck more than 20 individuals, killing two, with his car while speeding down Red River Street at SXSW after midnight on Thursday. Owens was charged with two charges of capital murder by terroristic threat, a felony-level offense, and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. Owens was processed at Travis County Jail at 5:44 a.m. No bond has been set.

While many SXSW activities will continue, St. David's Episcopal Church at 301 E. Eighth Street will host an open prayer service for the victims at 5:30 p.m. 

The car incident killed two people and injured 23. One of the victims who died was 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr, a creative director for the international branding and promotion company, MassiveMusic. The identity of the woman who died has not been revealed by the police.

The Mohawk, which is located right by where the incident took place, has canceled all of its afternoon events though it has not announced a plan for the evening events. APD will also be closing Eighth and Ninth streets from the I-35 frontage road to Neches Street at 5 p.m, though access to the frontage road will not be affected.

International relations sophomore Rush Evans, who was inside The Mohawk at the time of the crash, said the events were barely noticeable from inside the venue.

“No one seemed to notice that anything weird was happening,” Evans said. “Everyone was just going on their way having a good time.”

Evans said his view from the balcony allowed him to watch the first responders react to the scene.

“It literally looked like something just pulled through there and moved everyone out of the street,” Evans said. “People were lying on the sidewalks almost exclusively. It was pretty disturbing to see a little blood.”

Evans, who is a native of Austin, said he did not anticipate such a serious incident would happen at the festival. He said he was shaken by his proximity to the crash.

“If I had gotten there 5 minutes later, it could have been me,” Evans said. “I would have been in that line the car plowed through.”

Earlier Thursday, Fort Hood soldier Andrew Barmwell filed a police report for a stolen vehicle with the Killeen Police Department, according to Chris Haug, media relations chief at Fort Hood. Haug said Barmwell believes his stolen car, a gray Honda Civic, may be the one used in the crash. Barmwell was not available for comment.

Updated (Thursday, 11:50 a.m.): MassiveMusic, an international music branding and promotion company, identified 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr as the man who was killed in the car incident. Craenmehr worked as the creative director for the Amsterdam, Netherlands-based company.

"During the eight years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter," the company released in a statement on its website. "This is an irreplaceable loss for the MassiveMusic family and we are grateful for the years we spent with him."

Updated (Thursday, 11:26 a.m.): At a press conference Thursday, SXSW managing director Roland Swenson said SXSW operations would not be affected by the early-morning car crash that resulted in two deaths and more than 20 injured pedestrians.

“As much as we would just like to go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue operating today,” Swenson said.

APD police chief Art Acevedo said the police originally incorrectly reported the identities of the deceased people. Though the suspected driver struck a man and a woman on a moped, only the woman, who Acevedo said was from Austin, died.

“The male driver is actually stable and in good condition,” Acevedo said.

A SXSW visitor from the Netherlands whose name has not been released was the other fatality, Acevedo said. The man from the Netherlands was on his bike at the time of the crash.

Of the five patients originally reported as being in critical conditions, at least two are still critical, while the other three patients are in surgery or being evaluated, according to James Shamard, chief of staff for Austin-Travis County EMS.

Acevedo and other city officials, including Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, praised the efficiency of the first responders to the scene.

“I want to acknowledge the excellent performance of our first responders,” Leffingwell said. “There were about 25 people involved, and the incident was cleared from the street in less than 15 minutes.”

Leffingwell said city officials do everything they can to promote the safety of SXSW attendees.

“SXSW is a long-time event, 27 years, and this is the first time in 27 years we’ve had an incident of this kind,” Leffingwell said. “We will continually evaluate our events to make sure they’re as safe as they can possibly be.”

Daytime events will go on as planned, while planners at Mohawk Bar and Cheer Up Charlie’s, where the crash occurred, are still determining the best course of action, Swenson said.


SXSW managing director Ronald Swenson tells the media on Thursday morning that most SXSW operations will continue as planned. Photo by Shweta Gulati / Daily Texan Staff

Original story: At least two people died and more than 20 were injured after a car ran through the intersection of 9th Street and Red River Street during South By Southwest just past midnight on Thursday, according to the Austin Police Department.

The incident took place right outside The Mohawk, a bar and live music venue.

At 2:15 a.m., APD reported that it had apprehended the suspect driving the car by tasing the driver. The driver, who has not been publicly identified, struck multiple people, as well as a taxi cab. A man and a woman who were riding a moped were pronounced dead on the scene. In total, there were 23 victims, five of whom were in critical condition. APD Police Chief Art Acevedo said the driver will be charged with two counts of capital murder, as well as 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

“You cannot stop a person that decides rather than face potential drunk driving charges, at a high rate of speed, shows total disregard for human life,” Acevedo said. “That’s why we will be charging two counts of capital murder.”

In a joint press conference, Acevedo and Harry Evans, Austin Fire Department chief of staff, said the incident began when an APD officer initiated a traffic stop outside the Shell Gas Station on the intersection of I-35 and 9th streets. The driver weaved through the gas station lot and accelerated against the flow of traffic on 9th Street. When APD officers tried to overtake the vehicle, the driver took a right turn down Red River Street at a “high rate of speed,” Acevedo said.


APD Police Chief Art Acevedo addresses the media around 2:20 a.m. Thursday. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff.

“The gas station, as you can imagine with all the activities around, was very busy,” Acevedo said. “He was in a smaller vehicle, he was able to weave his way through.”

Acevedo said the driver drove through police-patrolled barricades to speed through Red River Street.

“We had an Austin police officer in uniform working barricade patrol, and he was forced to move out of the way to avoid being struck himself,” Acevedo said. “The suspect driver then accelerated down Red River Street, and at a high rate of speed struck multiple pedestrians.”

Acevedo said the chase ended after the driver crashed at the northwest corner of 11th and Red River streets.

“[He crashed] into a parked van, and then he exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot,” Acevedo said. “The officer was able to overtake him on foot, and was actually forced to tase him to take him into custody.” 

Mike Benavides, Travis County Emergency Medical Services spokesman, said EMS worked with 25 patients, including five who were in critical condition. Benavides said those five people had been transported off the scene within 15 minutes.

Benavides said Travis County EMS were prepared and had resources dedicated to SXSW patrol.

"This traffic management plan is a plan that has worked for years," Benavides said.

The area between the I-35 access road and Neches Street, and stretching from 10th to 11th Street, will be closed for most of Thursday.

Acevedo said the incident was unlike anything he had seen before as police chief.


A blocked off portion of the street following in the incident taken around 1 a.m. on Thursday. Photo by Cameron Peterson / Daily Texan Staff

“Nothing like this has happened at SXSW in the seven years [I’ve] been chief officer,” Acevedo said.

Computer science senior Calvin Lau was lined up at The Mohawk to watch rapper Tyler the Creator perform. Lau saw the police cars and witnessed some of the aftermath of the incident.

"It really just came out of left field for me," Lau said. "I didn't hear of anything like this happening before. I don't think anybody saw that coming."

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the nationality of the man who died in the incident. The man is from the Netherlands.

Justin Atkinson, Lauren L'Amie, Jordan Rudner, Shabab Siddiqui and Hannah Smothers contributed to this report.

 

FRIDAY

Underrated band: Savages

Stage: Honda

Time: 1 p.m.

This young all-female post-punk quartet from London might be the most talented and electrifying act of the weekend.

 

Local band: Okkervil River

Stage: Honda

Time: 5 p.m.

It is easily one of the most accomplished folk groups of the last 10 years.

 

Headliner: Depeche Mode

Stage: AMD

Time: 8 p.m.

Why: Every popular indie band now sounds like them, and the chance to see them play all the hits cannot be missed.

 

Band to skip: fun.

Stage: AMD

Time: 4 p.m.

Does anyone really need to force themselves to listen to “Some Nights” again? 

 

SATURDAY

Underrated band: Parquet Courts

Stage: Bud Light

Time: 11:30 a.m.

This punk band is explosive and awesome live. 

 

Local band: The Bright Light Social Hour

Stage: Austin Ventures

Time: 7 p.m.

They’re highly energetic local favorites who have been consistently great for years.

 

Headliner: The Cure

Stage: AMD

Time: 8 p.m.

The Cure is one of the greatest bands of all time with a reputation for playing nearly all of their hits live. It would be foolish to miss this.

 

Band to skip: Kings of Leon

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 8 p.m.

They haven’t released a good album in at least 5 years and are playing at the same time as The Cure.

 

SUNDAY

Underrated band: Shuggie Otis

Stage: Zilker Tent

Time: 7:30 p.m.

This often forgotten legend put out some of the best psychedelic soul of the ‘60s. 

 

Local band: White Denim

Stage: Austin Ventures

Time: 5 p.m.

White Denim is one of the best psych bands around. 

 

Headliner: Phoenix

Stage: Bud Light

Time: 7 p.m.

Not technically a headliner, but this set should be more fun than either of the two acts closing out the night.

 

Band to skip: Eric Church

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 6 p.m.

He doesn’t really fit in with the lineup and plays the same time as both The National and Tame Impala, two of the best bands playing all weekend.

 

Hannah Smothers, associate editor

@hannahsmothers_

 

FRIDAY

Underrated band: Jimmy Eat World

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Maybe Jimmy Eat World isn’t really underrated, but the 17-year-old inside of me thinks this band deserves a much better time slot than the early afternoon. OK, the current 20-year-old also thinks this band deserves a much better time slot.

 

Local band: Asleep at the Wheel        

Stage: AMD

Time: 12 p.m.

Asleep at the Wheel has been the first band to open ACL every year since the festival began in 2002. Even for people who aren’t huge Texas swing fans, this is an unmissable tradition.

 

Headliner: Arctic Monkeys                

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 6:30 p.m.

The latest Arctic Monkeys album is fantastic, and front man Alex Turner is an absolute rock ’n’ roll sex god. 

 

SATURDAY

Underrated band: Lissie

Stage: Austin Ventures

Time: 3:15 p.m.

Lissie not only has a beautiful voice, but she has also been known to rap Kid Cudi covers during live performances. 

 

Local band: Max Frost

Stage: Austin Ventures    

Time: 12 p.m.

In a few years, Frost will be back at ACL on a bigger stage and the crowd of people who remember seeing him in 2013 in an early time slot on a small stage will have eternal bragging rights.

 

Band to skip: Portugal. The Man

Stage: AMD

Time: 4 p.m.

Portugal. The Man’s band name is a nightmare for grammar nerds and their music is the same blend of indie-alt-folk-rock-whatever that shows up at every single music festival. 

 

SUNDAY

Underrated band: Noah and the Whale

Stage: Honda    

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Just for the chance that the band plays “Blue Skies” or “The First Days of Spring.” If there’s an appropriate time to get emotional at ACL, it is at Noah and the Whale’s set.

 

Headliner: The National

Stage: AMD    

Time: 5:30 p.m.

The National is awesome. Matt Berninger’s baritone vocals sometimes dip so low I’m pretty sure only animals can hear them — and I mean that as a compliment. 

 

 

Kris Ohlendorf, staff writer

@krisohlendorf

 

FRIDAY

Underrated band: Purity Ring

Stage: Austin Ventures

Time: 7:45 p.m.

The band’s music is really trippy and addictive, lots of bass and synths everywhere. Seeing it at night will be an unmissable experience. Wub wub.

 

Headliner: Vampire Weekend

Stage: AMD

Time: 6:00 p.m.

It’s amazing to see the fame and exposure the group is starting to get with its newest album, which is also the best album the group has put out. 

 

Band to skip: Muse

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 8:30 p.m.

Just listen to OK Computer on the ride home instead.

 

 

SATURDAY

Underrated band: Grimes

Stage: Honda

Time: 5:00 p.m.

She came all the way down from Canada to grace us with her presence, and is pretty much the most awesome person not named Kanye West.

 

Local band: The Warrior Gospel Band

Stage: Zilker Tent

Time: 11:30 a.m.

A talented local group that does pre-Civil War era gospel tunes.

 

Headliner: Kendrick Lamar

Stage: Honda

Time: 7:00 p.m.

good kid, m.A.A.d city was the best album to come out last year. I’ve gone through it probably 50 times; it never gets old.

 

SUNDAY

Underrated band: Tame Impala

Stage: Honda

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Its last album Lonerism is amazing, and should be heard by everyone. 

 

Local band: Peterson Brothers Band

Stage: BMI

Time: 4:00 p.m.

A duo of talented brothers, one shreds guitar and the other slaps a bass. Their live shows are bluesy and full of energy; they seem like cool guys too.

 

Headliner: Atoms for Peace

Stage: AMD

Time: 7:40 p.m.

It’s 2+2=5 of Radiohead. Amok was good, but my hope is they’ll play something from Kid A just for me.

 

Band to skip: The Mowgli’s

Stage: Bud Light

Time: 1:00 p.m.

There are eight band members, and they aren’t named Arcade Fire.

 

Sarah-Grace Sweeney, editor

@sarahgrace317

 

FRIDAY

Underrated band: Smith Westerns

Stage: Honda Stage

Time: 3 p.m.

This dreamy indie pop is the way to ease into a busy ACL weekend.  

 

Local band: Dana Falconberry

Stage: Austin Ventures

Time: 12:20 p.m.

It’s early, but Dana Falconberry’s music sounds like a fairy fantasy land.

 

SATURDAY

Underrated band: Hundred Waters

Stage: Honda Stage

Time: 11:30 a.m.

This folky electronica from Florida is for indie kid head-bopping and dancing. 

 

Headliner: Wilco

Stage: Samsung Galaxy Stage

Time:  6 p.m.

Wilco just happen to be my folk heroes — and probably everyone’s dad’s folk heroes too. 

 

Band to skip: Passion Pit

Stage: AMD Stage

Time: 6 p.m.

Aren’t people tired of all these over produced songs that sound exactly the same, yet?  

 

SUNDAY

Underrated band: Foxygen

Stage: Samsung Galaxy Stage

Time: 12 a.m.

Foxygen is a perfect combination of classic rock and indie pop.  

 

Headliner: Neko Case

Stage: Austin Ventures Stage

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Neko Case just released a stellar album and this is a great chance to hear the songs live. 

 

Band to skip: Atoms for Peace

Stage: AMD Stage

Time: 7:40 p.m.

Why would anyone see Thom Yorke if it wasn’t with Radiohead? 

 

by Shane Miller

@shanearthurmill

 

FRIDAY

Underrated band: Pinback

Stage: Bud Light

Time: 3:30 p.m. 

Ever since 1999’s This is a Pinback CD, Pinback’s indie rock has been mellow, progressive and impressive enough to put it in its own category. 

 

Headliner: Local Natives

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Local Natives is the best indie band out there to eat, pray and love to.  

 

SATURDAY

Local band: Shakey Graves

Stage: BMI

Time: 4:30 p.m. 

This one-man band is easily one of Austin’s most talented musicians, so support him and hopefully be able to say “I saw Shakey Graves at ACL before he was cool.” 

 

Band to skip: Silversun Pickups 

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 4 p.m. 

“Lazy Eye” is the only one worth listening to.

 

SUNDAY

Underrated band: Toro Y Moi

Stage: Bud Light

Time: 5 p.m. 

This dude, Chaz, is a fantastic producer and perfect for hipsters, and wannabe hipsters like myself, to steal fashion ideas from. 

 

Band to skip: Grouplove

Stage: AMD

Time: 3:30 p.m.

I’d rather be at your best friend’s house.  

    

Sam Hays, staff writer

@samingtonhays

 

FRIDAY 

Local band: The Black Angels    

Stage: Honda    

Time: 5 p.m.

Why: The Black Angels’ psychadelic rock sound sounds like a polished rendition of the Austin garage bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s. 

 

Headliner: Muse

Stage: Samsung Galaxy

Time: 8:30 p.m.

Why: Though the later half of their discography is forgettable, they haven’t forgotten how to put on a brilliant show full of lasers, lights and high energy.

 

SATURDAY

Band to Skip: Kendrick Lamar

Stage: Honda

Time: 7 p.m.

Why: Kendrick is always in town. Why would you pass up an opportunity to see Justin Vernon for a rapper who will probably be here in the next few months anyway.

 

SUNDAY

Local band: Divine Fits

Stage: Honda

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Why: Divine Fits is the side-project for Britt Daniels, the lead singer of Spoon. The two bands are very similar in sound, but Divine Fits is definitely less refined and more festival appropriate. 

 

 

ACL Day 2

Precarious clouds loomed over Zilker Park until about 5 pm, when the rain had music fans either running for shelter or pulling out umbrellas.

At 3 pm Big K.R.I.T. appeared on the Honda stage after a hyped up intro from his DJ. He displayed unrelenting stamina during his hour of enthusiastic and fast paced rapping. The DJ showcased his turntable virtuosity through solo instrumental breaks comprised of massive amounts of vinyl scratching and air horns.

Josh Tillman of Father John Misty took the Austin Ventures stage carrying a bottle of Tito’s vodka and wearing red, plastic, heart-shaped sunglasses. He opened his energetic set by commenting on the cloud-covered skies. “This weather is like a hung-over person’s paradise, Jesus! What sweet relief,” Tillman said. Father John Misty’s performance was flamboyant bordering on ridiculous.

In the midst of one of the many bursts of rain, The Shins began their performance on the AMD stage. The band played an array of songs from their extensive library, and the crowd was happy to dance along to the familiar tunes. However, the performance was bland, and devoid of the character and commentary that audiences typically crave from a live show.

The TVs next to the Honda Stage were turned off to concentrate the spotlight on Bassnectar. The electronica artist sampled popular songs like Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” while adding his own pulsating drum sound clips. Almost every song followed the same formula of buildups to breaks. Though predictable, Bassnectar’s original tracks and remixed songs prompted everyone within earshot to drop everything and just dance.

The final choice of the night was classic or alternative rock. For the latter crowd, Jack White began on the AMD Stage at 8 pm on the dot with an all-girl backing band (but no Meg White). Playing songs from The White Stripes like “I Can Tell That We Are Going To Be Friends,” and that one Raconteurs song, White concisely summarized his prolific career within an hour and thirty minutes. Known for a guitar-driven sound, his delicate finger picking and cacophonous slide techniques were joined by a pedal steel, organ, and violin to create a holistic soundscape. 

Meanwhile, anticipation was high in the tightly packed crowd before Neil Young and Crazy Horse walked out on to the Bud Light stage. Dressed in t-shirts and blue jeans, the band of graying, balding rock-stars were as spry and lively as ever. There were frequent, extensive instrumental breaks, but the fans didn’t seem to mind.  The band held the audience’s captivation for the duration of their two-hour set, and the muddy army of fans left the show still in awe.

Saturday is in the history books, leaving only the bittersweet last day. The rain will continue tomorrow and is likely to boil during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ headlining set.