8 victims still hospitalized after SXSW crowd wreck that left 2 dead; suspect jailed


AUSTIN, Texas — Eight people who were injured in the South by Southwest accident that’s blamed on a suspected drunken driver remained hospitalized Saturday, including two in critical condition.

Rashad Charjuan Owens, of Killeen, has been charged with capital murder and was still in custody Saturday. His bond is at $3 million, Travis County jail records show.

Two people died early Thursday in the incident, in which police say Owens, 21, smashed his car through a street barricade and accelerated as he approached crowds, according to an arrest warrant released Friday. Emergency personnel attended to 23 injured people, who were spread out across the street as horrified witnesses also tried to assist.

Six victims were still at University Medical Center Brackenridge on Saturday, hospital system spokesman Steve Taylor said. Two were in critical condition, two were listed as serious and two were in good condition, Taylor said. St. David’s HealthCare spokeswoman Denise Bradley said two patients remained in fair condition.

Most of the injured were treated and released hours after Thursday’s incident, Austin police said.

Police Chief Art Acevedo has said Owens intentionally steered toward pedestrians in hopes of escaping an officer who was trying to pull him over. A breath test indicated Owens’ blood-alcohol content was 0.114, past the Texas legal limit for driving of 0.08, the warrant says.

Court records indicate Owens pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Fairbanks, Alaska, in October 2011, when he was 19.

Owens also faced 2012 charges in Alaska of criminal mischief, and a warrant was issued for him after he failed to appear in court. In 2010, he was arrested by Killeen Independent School District police for criminal trespassing and pleaded guilty.

Killeen is about 70 miles north of Austin.

The South By Southwest festival, which features music, film and technology events, wraps up Sunday.