Authorities today identified the DUI suspect who allegedly killed two people and injured dozens of others in Austin, Texas, when he crashed his vehicle through barricades set up for the South by Southwest festival, plowing into a crowd while fleeing police.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said 23 people were injured, five of them critically, in the incident. The driver is suspected of DWI, according to ABC affiliate KVUE. The suspect was identified as 21-year-old Rashad Owens of Killeen. Texas.
The two victims who died were a man and a women, one of whom was on a moped and the other a bicycle. Many of the pedestrians were leaving a club where a concert had been held, Acevedo said.
Police said the incident unfolded as an officer on a drunken-driving patrol tried to stop the silver Toyota sedan at a gas station. The car took off, weaving between parked cars then driving at high speed the wrong way down a one-way street. Taking a right turn on Red River Street, the vehicle crashed through a barricade and narrowly missed a police officer, the Associated Press reported.
Eight of the 23 injured were sent to Brackenridge Emergency at University Medical Center, according to Dr. Christopher Ziebell, medical director at the University Medical Center Brackenridge emergency department.
"Seven [were received] right away and the eighth was transferred in overnight from one of the hospitals across town when they discovered injuries that were a little more severe than they could deal with," Ziebell said. "Of these eight persons, two are critically injured and in very critical condition, another three are in serious condition and are in some level of higher or intensive care. Two patients were treated and released, including the driver that was involved in this incident."
Austin Police Lt. Brian Moon said the driver -- who has since been taken into custody -- didn't stop, even after crashing through the temporary barricades.
"The driver continued to drive after crashing through the barricades and hit numerous pedestrians before the vehicle stopped," Moon told ABC News Radio.
Travis County paramedics and Medical responders were able to respond to the scene quickly, because the incident occurred so close to the hospital. Harry Evans, Chief of Staff for the Austin Fire Department said that the trauma patients were removed within 15 minutes and the rest of the patients were transferred from the scene within 47 minutes.
The EMS team had just conducted a mass casualty incident training the week before, and one of their training scenarios involved a car plowing into a crowd of people.
"I spoke with the EMS medical doctor in the night and he was telling me that just last week his commanders had gone through some mass casualty incident training, and one of the scenarios that they drilled on was a car going into a crowd," Ziebell said. "So they had just a week ago practiced this exact scenario and debriefed on it and talked about how they could do it better."
After the accident, the man jumped out of his car and tried to run -- but officers shocked him with a stun gun, Acevedo said.
The accident happened around 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Red River Street and East 10th Street, near several clubs. Photos taken at the scene show victims lying in the street, with emergency vehicles responding.
Emergency workers gave life-saving CPR to one of the injured pedestrians, officials said.