Police Release More Details of Tragedy

Acevedo calls incident an 'evil' act

The scene after the crash
The scene after the crash (by John Anderson)

An Austin woman on a moped and a male bicyclist from the Netherlands were the victims in the early Thursday morning tragedy that left two dead and 23 people injured, two of them in “very critical condition,” law enforcement and emergency personnel told reporters today. Names of the victims have not been released.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo released few details about the drunken driving suspect who was chased down, tased, and arrested after speeding the wrong way on East Ninth Street, drove around a barricade set up for SXSW, and then plowed through a crowd of festival goers. The incident marred the start of the music portion of the festival and what had been a celebratory evening of live music at local venues.

Owners of Cheer Up Charlie’s and The Mohawk, two clubs nearest what turned into a five-block crime scene, were still deciding whether to go forward with tonight's events, Acevedo said.

SXSW’s Roland Swenson expressed his condolences and said his staff is overcome with deep sadness and, as much as everyone would like to go home and absorb the shock of the tragedy, organizers had decided to continue as scheduled.

Acevedo urged SXSW to continue, calling the festival a “celebration of life” that shouldn’t be sidelined by one “evil” act. He credited emergency responders and festival goers for springing into action. “Everybody came together to restore order."

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

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