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Public Safety

'Bodies Went Flying' As Car Tore Through Crowd At SXSW

Revelry turned to horror early Thursday "after a car plowed through South by Southwest crowds in Downtown Austin," KUT reports.

The Austin American-Statesman describes what happened this way:

"A driver attempting to evade a drunk driving stop hurtled past a barricade on Red River Street and plowed through dozens of SXSW revelers, killing two and injuring 23 in a horrific scene early Thursday morning, police said. The street, home to many popular clubs hosting South by Southwest music showcases, had been closed to motorists and was crowded with music fans waiting to get into the Mohawk nightclub.

"According to police, the man, driving a small Toyota car, went the wrong way down Ninth Street after evading a stop at a gas station around 12:30 a.m., turned onto Red River and drove for more than two blocks, striking numerous pedestrians before hitting a scooter traveling on 11th Street, killing the man and woman on board. The driver then struck a taxi, injuring two, and crashed into a parked van, Police Chief Art Acevedo said."

Police on the scene used a stun gun to subdue the man, whom they have yet to identify. According to KUT, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo "told reporters the suspect will be charged with capital murder."
The American-Statesman adds that:
"Ally Hulton, a 28-year-old from Los Angeles, was smoking a cigarette on the balcony of her friend's apartment on Red River when she saw a car drive down the street 'at full speed' before hitting someone.

"It then appeared to accelerate into a crowd of people, she said. 'About 10 bodies went flying,' Hulton said."
KUT has posted several photos taken at the scene and writes that "Austin police ask videos and photos of the incident be turned over at the following number: (512) 974-5186. As the event happened at one of the U.S.'s premiere media events, many images are available on social media."
KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.