SXSW Interactive to Continue in Wake of Fatal Accident
Billboard.com reports that organizers of South By Southwest plan to continue with the schedule of events in the wake of last night's fatal car accident which left two dead and 23 people injured.
At a press conference held this morning Thursday, March 13th, SXSW co-founder and managing director Roland Swenson shared his shock and sympathies for the victims, commenting "as much as we want to go home and absorb the shock of this event," the day's events will go on.
The accident occurred last night outside The Mohawk and Cheer Up Charlie's. Swenson said individual venues in the area would decide whether to cancel or postpone events. The Mohawk announced they were canceling today's House of Vans showcase with Cloud Nothings and Fu---d Up, and one of the artists scheduled to perform in the Homesick Philly showcase at Cheer Up Charlies today, Chill Moody, posted on his Tumblr that the set had been canceled.
"We're talking to [the venues] to see how they should best proceed," said a visibly shaken Swenson. "We feel we have an obligation to the people who have traveled here from all over the world."
Chiefs of Police, Fire and EMS departments, and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, also spoke to the media Thursday morning, discussing details on the rescue efforts and the incident that led up to the suspect driving through the crowded street at 12:30 a.m. The suspect, a black male, is suspected of driving while intoxicated, and was booked on two capital murder charges. He will be arraigned this afternoon at which time police will release his name. The two fatalities were identified as a man from the Netherlands riding a bike and a local woman riding on a moped.
Of the 23 people injured, two are still in very critical condition, three are receiving treatment and considered seriously injured. The Red Cross will be releasing a list of names and their condition Thursday afternoon.
provided details of the incident: An officer looking for drunken drivers pulled over a suspect on Frontage Road next to Interstate 35. The suspect pulled into a gas station and before the officer could stop the suspect he accelerated through the gas station and up 9th Street. He turned right onto Red River plowing though street barricades and accelerating for two blocks hitting people waiting in line at the clubs, a bicyclist, two people on a moped and a taxi. He drove through a parking lot and crashed into a van. The suspect then ran on 11th street and the officer who had been pursuing in a vehicle chased him on foot, before tasing him and making the arrest.
"This is a selfish individual with no regard for other people," said Police Chief Art Acevedo. "It's a tragedy that an opportunity for a gut check. We can be scared for a minute but I can tell you I saw the best of humanity come together to restore order The investigation is ongoing and moving rapidly."