Two Dead and 23 Injured As Alleged Drunken Driver Plows into Festival Crowd in Austin
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 14, 2014 – The night was still young for the South by Southwest festivalgoers, excited to be enjoying the event. Suddenly, a car crashed into groups of pedestrians, leaving two dead and many injured.
“This event was truly horrific,” indicates Brooks Schuelke, a wrongful death lawyer with Austin’s Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP. “An allegedly drunk driver ran into a crowd of people attending a local festival, crashed into a van, taxicab and moped, killing two and injuring 23. The survivors were taken to a nearby hospital. Some were lucky enough to go home. At least eight will remain under medical care for the time being.” There are at least two critically injured people, three in serious condition and 3 that remain in observation with non-life threatening injuries. No one could have conceived the horror that night would hold for the younger crowd in attendance when they went to the festival to enjoy music and films.
Earlier in the evening, police had spotted a man driving the wrong way on a one-way street. In an attempt to pull him over to assess whether he was driving under the influence, he raced away and threaded his way through a crowded parking lot close to the entertainment venue. As the driver hit the street, festivalgoers were out in large numbers enjoying the evening. The man drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians, scattering many of them all over the sidewalk and launching several into the air on impact.
The vehicle continued on its way, with the police in pursuit, hitting a van, a man riding a bicycle, a woman on a moped and a taxicab. Not daunted by any of the collisions, the man kept running from police. They were able to catch up with him after initiating a foot chase. He faces two charges of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle. Police have identified the suspect as 21-year-old Rashad Owens of Killeen, Texas.
“The families of the two individuals who died suddenly, as a result of the negligence of the car’s driver, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or another drug, need to be aware that they have legal rights in this matter. This was not an ‘accident.’ This was negligence from the time the man started and continued to drink to inebriation and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle,” says Schuelke.
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil matters and may be filed once the criminal justice process is completed. While the lawsuit itself does not bring the deceased back, it does serve as an excellent vehicle for the families to send out a strong message that drinking and driving must be stopped. It helps those that are grieving have some control over speaking for those they have lost in an incident that never should have happened.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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