In 2014, four people were killed and dozens injured when a man, attempting to avoid a drunk driving arrest, drove through a barricade and drove through a crowd at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas slamming any involved Austin personal injury lawyer with allot of work. In January 2016, Rashad Owens, who was 21 at the time of the crash, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of capital murder in the four deaths. Jamie Ranae West, 27, and Steven Craenmehr, 35, both died at the scene while Sandy Le, 26, and DeAndre Tatum, 19, died several days later.
The street where the accident occurred is in front of several popular Austin clubs where the festival is held and is closed to vehicle traffic. Owens was evading a traffic stop at a gas station near the event and drove for more than two blocks after crashing through a barricade. He also drove on a sidewalk, injuring a number of people, before killing a man on a bicycle and a woman on a moped, hitting two more people and a taxi before smashing into a parked van.
The people in the street were waiting to enter the Mohawk nightclub where a legendary punk band, “X,” was playing. Witnesses say that the street was filled with injured people lying in the streets as festival goers rushed to give aid. Overall, 23 people were injured in addition to the four deaths. Owens attempted to escape on foot but was captured after being Tasered. He had a blood alcohol content of 0.114.
Most Common Injuries
Like in most pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents, the injuries sustained by the victims in the South by Southwest accident were similar among them. Injuries included head trauma, damage to the legs and pelvis as well as traumatic brain injuries, some causing irreparable damage. Victims also suffered concussions, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures as well as lacerations, bruises, and contusions.
De’Andre Tatum, who was the fourth person to die after the crash, suffered a broken leg and pelvis as well as a severe brain injury. His girlfriend, Curtisha Davis, 17, was with him at the concert and was also injured. Tatum was placed in a medically induced coma after the accident and died four days later. Mason Endres suffered a broken leg, broken nose, concussion and fractured neck. Her favorite band, Jared & The Mill, who she was supposed to see at the concert, came to perform for her in her hospital room.
History Of Accidents
Just two days after the Austin accident, Tyler the Creator, a rapper, was arrested at a South by Southwest concert for inciting a riot when he encouraged fans to push past security guards. Promoters say that these were isolated incidents at a concert that has lasted over 27 years and one where as many as 350,000 spectators have enjoyed the festival without incident. However, research indicates that there have been other incidences of violence and injury in the festival’s history.
In 2011, Richard Patrick Fagerberg filed a lawsuit against the festival after a large mechanical arm and video camera fell on him, causing a serious head injury. Fagerberg claimed that the injury ended his career as an Austin personal injury lawyer. In a recent civil case against the concert organizers, a review of past concerts discovered that there had been more than 100 injuries sustained by ticket holders, claiming that the organizers did not protect those attending as well as they should.
Other lawsuits claim that South by Southwest organization should have used rigid barriers to protect those standing on the street. They also claim that the organizers should have been aware of the risks of excessive alcohol consumption at the event due to the number of public intoxication arrests in the years leading up to the 2014 event according to an Austin personal injury lawyer.
The tragedy at the Austin South by Southwest music festival, which left four people dead and many permanently injured, is an example of how drinking and driving can lead to severe consequences. If you have been injured by a drunk driver either while a driver, passenger or pedestrian, contact an Austin personal injury lawyer to learn what rights you may have. Contacting an attorney does not mean you intend to sue the responsible party, but simply protects your rights under the law.
Many attorneys offer free, no obligation consultations. An attorney can review your case, obtain your medical records and work with the other insurance company so you can concentrate on healing from the injuries you sustained in the accident. You may be entitled to lost wages, medical bill reimbursement as well as pain and suffering. Be sure to seek legal advice of a qualified Austin Personal Injury Lawyer to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve under the law.