Car slams into crowd near Texas SXSW festival, two people killed

by Reuters
Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:18 GMT

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AUSTIN, Texas, March 13 (Reuters) - A car evading police plowed into a crowd outside a nightclub on Thursday, killing two people and injuring 23 near the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, police said.

The driver, yet to be identified, fled from police and was subdued by an officer using a stun gun. He faces two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle, police said.

At least two of the injured were in critical condition with head injuries and three in serious condition at a local hospital. The two people killed were a man and a woman on a moped.

The suspect had minor injuries and was treated at the same hospital as many of the victims. He was then taken into police custody, hospital officials said.

"There is only one person that is responsible for this and that is the person who had no regard for the sanctity of life," Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters.

Police initially tried to pull the suspect over at a gas station on suspicion of drunk driving but he sped off, barreling through barricades and hurtling down a crowded street, police said.

After hitting pedestrians and vehicles, he then fled the scene. A police officer giving chase used a taser to subdue the suspect, police said.

SXSW, running from March 7 to March 16, began as a music event in 1987. It features interactive film, music festivals and conferences and draws tens of thousands of people to the Texas capital annually.

Many roads in downtown Austin are closed to traffic each night of the event as thousands take to restaurants, bars, clubs and movie theaters. Police set up numerous checkpoints in the area to look for people driving under the influence. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Jon Herskovitz in Austin; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Tom Brown)

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