A drunk driver faces two counts of murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. The driver hit the crowd outside The Mohawk club in downtown Austin, where people were waiting for a South by Southwest concert. Police officials told media that a man and a woman on a moped died on the spot. 23 others were injured, and five of them are in critical condition.
The drunk driver is now in police custody
The accident took place at around 12:30 a.m. local time when a Toyota sedan crashed into a barricade near The Mohawk. Police officials haven’t yet released the names of the driver or two deceased. Austin Police Officer Jermaine Kilgore told NBC News that the driver tried to evade the officials at the time of the crash. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the officers tried to pull over the drunk driver near a gas station on Interstate 35 for a traffic violation. But he went the wrong way down a one-way street at high speed. The driver then turned onto a street that was barricaded after the concert.
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The driver then struck a crowd of pedestrians, and went on to hit a moped, a van and a taxi, before stopping the sedan and trying to run. Police officers pursued and tasered him to take into custody. Acevedo said that a lot of people had been pushed on the sidewalk, otherwise it could have been much worse. Indiana-based musician Scott Jakota said he was one of the first people to be hit by car. He has suffered a leg injury.
Austin Mayor sends out condolences; angry at the drunk driver
Austin police have set up a special number for people to call if they have any videos, pictures, or information related to the accident. Police department posted on Facebook, “If you witnessed, have video/photos of the incident @ Red River call (512) 974-5186. Do not tie this line up for any other reason.”
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell sent out thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families in an official statement. He was angered over the reports of drunk driving; Leffingwell said drunk driving is never acceptable.