Two people are dead and 23 injured after a suspected drunk driver, attempting to evade police, barreled through a barricade and into a crowd at Austin's South by Southwest festival. The incident happened around 12:30AM last night on Red River Street, just a few blocks from the Texas Capitol building.

Police report that an officer attempted to pull over a gray Toyota sedan for drunk driving at a gas station, before the man behind the wheel took off, heading the wrong way down Ninth Street. According to the Austin American-Statesman, he then turned onto Red River, and drove for two more blocks before striking the barricade and the crowd. He then hit a scooter on 11th Street, killing the man and woman that were riding it, before hitting a taxi. The driver attempted to flee on foot before being tased and detained by the same officer that attempted to pull him over.

Speaking to reporters, Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed that the man would be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. The Statesman reports that five people were seriously injured and were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge.

Eye witnesses report that the driver was traveling "at full speed" when it hit someone. "About 10 bodies went flying," said Ally Hulton, who saw the incident from a friend's balcony. Scott Jakota was one of the people hit by the alleged drunk driver, saying the driver "gunned" the car before he was "thrown up in the sky."

The Austin American-Statesman has video of Police Chief Acevedo's comments to the media, which we've embedded below. Scroll down to take a look and head over to the Statesman's website for a more thorough account of this tragedy.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      Jake
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is just disgusting. I'd be willing to be that in this town the cops will be sued for this somehow. (I am writing this comment in Austin). I think that it is pretty rare around here to suffer real (legal) consequences for a DUI, I don't know why he ran anyway. He'd be walking around free today with a little less money if he'd stopped. Now, people are dead because this guy is an idiot. Disgusting.
      Card13
      • 9 Months Ago
      He had to have been really hammered to even dream that he would manage to escape (or later be tracked down with the vehicle I'm assuming belongs to him since it wasn't stated that it was stolen). You run over crowds of people and hit multiple vehicles, then what? You hide in an alley until the police forget as if this is Grand Theft Auto?
      Brian
      • 9 Months Ago
      what a freaking shame. if you gotta do something stupid, why do you gotta take people down with you?
        Max
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Brian
        Because we are living in a society where we are increasingly individualistic and social cohesion is eroding. There are fewer social agents that keep us from doing selfish acts. It wasn't that long ago that religion, fear of being shame to your family, and one's own person code kept us from doing bad things. Too many people just don't give a crap about people other than themselves.
      Fazzster
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why is this on Autoblog? What is the criteria for posting? Because it involves an automobile? This story is out of place here.
        gtv4rudy
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        "Because it involves an automobile?" ... yea.
        carbon_rider
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        Way to go Autoblog for posting this. Post what you think the readers want to read. If you don't want to read, move on!
        EXP Jawa
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        Let's not forget that this is, in fact, a blog. They can post whatever they damn well fell like that might be tangentially related to automobiles. Car crashes of all sorts, even grim ones, happen to qualify.
        Moreno636
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        Who died and made you lead editor of whats acceptable and isn't on this site? GTFOH this is very much an automobile related story.
          Actionable Mango
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Moreno636
          Who died and made you lead editor of whats an acceptable question in the commentary?
        mapoftazifosho
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        SXSW is an event where some new automotive tech is discussed...it's a big event and lots of bloggers, including some from Autoblog were most likely in attendance. Plus this was clearly unintentional acceleration!
          graphikzking
          • 9 Months Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          actually the 1 person said he gunned the car before hitting people so it was clearly intentional and completely stupid. I bet this guy will get out in 6 years after he pleads "medical condition alcoholism" and have a license within 6 months of getting out. Drunk driver last year just drove the wrong way down I95 in Pa and hit a motorcycle cop killing him and got 10-20 years but will be out on less than 10 most likely. How does someone get their license back each time? 15duis: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/11/02/after-15-duis-losing-his-license-4-times-elgin-man-still-driving/ 3 times in 1 week: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?id=9442947 There are thousands of stories like this that are just terrible. They injure and sometimes even kill many people but we just gloss over it and move to the next story. I hate to say it, but if this were a gun, it would be "sensationalized" and on EVERY talkshow, news program etc and be in our face asking thousands of opinions all day and have thousands of articles on line. We need to figure something out with drunk driving ESPECIALLY multiple offenders. Possibly if you are charged with a 2nd dui, impound the car. Any equity in the vehicle, the state should sell it and take the proceeds to an organization for alcohol awareness and drunk driving education etc. 3rd offense, another impound and mandatory hard time plus larger fines.
      jesscott
      • 9 Months Ago
      not sure why this is on Autoblog............there's cars in the video? the nut job was driving a car? why?
      marv.shocker
      • 9 Months Ago
      Too bad he didn't run over Snowden while he was at it...
      scraejtp
      • 9 Months Ago
      I don't know the situation, but this may be another case where police chases need to approved. Once the chase enters densely populated areas, it may be best to call off the chase for the safety of the public. Hindsight is 20/20 showing that in this case it was a bad decision to continue pursuit. I hope this drunk is prosecuted to the fullest extent, rather than let off easy.
        Dart
        • 9 Months Ago
        @scraejtp
        Unfortunately no-chase policies have shown to embolden people who are already breaking the law. Just look at all the motorcycle gangs that shutdown highways to do donuts because they know the cops won't chase them. This probably transpired so fast the cops didn't have time to think about not chasing him.
        ChaosphereIX
        • 9 Months Ago
        @scraejtp
        he took off already in a densely populated area, if anything the cop didn't catch up to him fast enough to force him to stop. Too late and the chase was justified. Don't blame the cops for this idiot, he tried to do everything he could, including electrocuting the bastard to get him to stop running. Just wish he got to him earlier.
          ChaosphereIX
          • 9 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          at a later date? He plowed into 25 people and the cops were not even close to catching him. He was going at a high rate of speed regardless, because he was drunk. He would have killed more had the police not been close, and he chose to escape on foot rather than try and get out of his situation in his car, and keep on killing people. I am no expert, and this is just opinion, but I think the cop was justified in the chase. It is just too bad he didn't catch up sooner.
          scraejtp
          • 9 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          Catching up to him sooner doesn't make him stop. And a pit maneuver would be dangerous in a densely populated area. Stop sticks would take extra time to deploy. The safest choice in a very dense area is to stop pursuit so the speeds will be reduced. Hopefully at this time information has been obtained so you can arrest the individual at a later date.
        apersonofinterest
        • 9 Months Ago
        @scraejtp
        I absolutely agree. The deaths always happen when the cops decide to chase the vehicle. Police chases should be illegal. I would like to see some kind of gun that fires a tracking device and then they can just back off and apprehend the subject when he stops or is a safe area where they can go after him without risking lives.
        Max
        • 9 Months Ago
        @scraejtp
        You're right, hindsight is 20/20 and hopefully hindsight will lead to better foresight. It's a tough call to make because you never know how someone will respond. One thing we don't consider is that most drunk drivers actually pullover when the sirens come on. It makes me wonder if people's reactions are based on whether or not they truly believe in a system of laws or if they try to get away from as much as they can...alcohol being the truth serum. If there's any basis to the previous statement, we can at least predict how would run and how would to the slightly more responsible thing...that is after doing something very irresponsible (driving under the influence).
      Carboy45
      • 9 Months Ago
      This person deserves the death penalty.
        Max
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Carboy45
        I think the death penalty should be considered under very rare circumstances. I wish we lived in a world where a drunk driver killing 2 and injuring 23 was very rare. The lives of the 23 and their friends and families will probably never be the same. This jerk brought a measure of misery to hundreds of people...if you think about it.
      jtav2002
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why do people constantly complain about whether an article belongs here or not? Don't think it should, or don't want to read it? Move on rather than wasting your time to come in here and comment on the article.
      JaredN
      • 9 Months Ago
      Tall tree. Short rope.
      alexkoolur
      • 9 Months Ago
      why is this story on autoblog? What is this CNN?
      Koenigsegg
      • 9 Months Ago
      GTA
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